Hope is not a substitute for faith.
Even though hope is important and has a positive role to play, it is not faith and will not do what faith will do. Those who pray in hope or make a habit of hoping and praying won’t see the results they desire unless they go from hope to faith.
There is no substitute for faith.
No matter how great the need or sincere the prayer, a faithless prayer is an unanswered prayer. James told us that if we don’t pray in faith, we shouldn’t expect to receive anything from God.
“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord.” —James 1:6-7
The Bible makes a clear distinction between hope and faith.
“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” —1 Corinthians 13:13
One reason love is the greatest of the three is that love will last forever. Hope and faith are temporary, and when we receive our heavenly reward, everything we are hoping and believing for will turn to sight.
In that day there won’t be anything left to believe or hope for. We will have it all! Until then, it will be very helpful to know the difference between hope and faith. Without some understanding of the two, it is very easy to substitute hope for faith.
Let’s first take a look at hope and the role hope plays in the life of every believer.
Without hope the future is bleak, life is not worth living and there is nothing to look forward to. Hope looks ahead and sees the possibilities.
Hope visualizes what faith can do, but it is always future tense.
People who are only in hope put all the promises of God in the future tense. “I will have it someday.” “It’s coming soon; it’s on the way….”
Hope is future tense. To receive the promises, you must turn your hope into faith.
Faith is present tense.
Faith believes it receives when the prayer is prayed. As soon as the “Amen” is spoken faith says, “It’s mine. I have it now.”
God told Abraham, “I have made you the father of many nations.” He didn’t say, “I’m going to make you the father of many nations.” That’s future tense. God told Abraham he was the father of many nations—present tense—before he had Isaac. Imagine calling an old man with no children the father of many nations!
Notice how faith and hope work together in Hebrews 11:1:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Faith becomes the present tense “substance” of the things hope sees in the future. Hope is like a blue print. It shows what’s possible, what’s desired and what’s going to be. The blue print gives all the details of a building or structure, but it does not produce the building. As one writer said, “Hope is a good waiter but a poor receiver.”
Faith brings invisible realities into the present tense.
It “calls those things that do not exist as though they did.” Faith is the substance. It’s like having the actual building. You believe it’s in your possession before you physically see it.
You may think, “Well I just want to physically have my answer, and then I can believe it.” That’s not how faith works. If the answer is physically manifested, you don’t need to believe it. If you have the substance, you don’t need faith anymore.
Once faith becomes sight, faith is no longer necessary.
It’s the prayer of faith that saves the sick (James 5:15), not the prayer of hope. Many well-meaning people have prayed in hope instead of faith and wondered why their prayers weren’t answered.
Rather than giving up on prayer, let’s learn how to turn hope to faith and receive what God has for us!
Jesus said, “If you can believe, all things are possible.” As we dare to believe God, a whole new world of possibilities is opened to us. Don’t let unbelief keep you from experiencing God’s best. It’s time to believe God! Get Greg’s “Dare To Believe” CD’s or USB today!