While these words are closely linked and sometimes hard to distinguish between, I believe we can see they are different by their use in verses such as:

  • Romans 5:2, “By whom also we have access by FAITH into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in HOPE of the glory of God.”
  • Galatians 5:5, “For we through the Spirit wait for the HOPE of righteousness by FAITH.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 1:3, “Remembering without ceasing your work of FAITH, and labour of love, and patience of HOPE in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.”

Faith is a word meaning belief, trust, or assurance. It is used 244 times in the New Testament. Hope is a word meaning anticipation or expectation. It is used 54 times in the New Testament. In the verses we quoted, it is evident that hope has to do with looking forward to future events. Let’s consider Galatians 5:5, “For we through the Spirit wait for the HOPE of righteousness by FAITH.” We can see by this verse that HOPE is a product of FAITH. Romans 5:5 tells us, “And hope maketh not ashamed…” It is the anticipation of being with the Lord and seeing Him glorified before all the world that keeps us from being ashamed in a world that literally despises Him. Empty and pointless hope will often bring us to shame, but the hope that we have in Christ Jesus will never shame us.

We see FAITH and HOPE working together in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” When a believer is promoted to Glory, there is certainly grief in the hearts of those who loved him. However, this grief is different from those who have no hope of ever seeing their loved one again. We have the assurance of being with our redeemed loved one again. If we believe, or have faith, that Jesus died and rose again, we know the Lord Jesus will bring our loved one with Him when He returns to take His church home. What a glorious day! FAITH and HOPE will give us a grand anticipation of being with the Lord, and give us the patience to wait for Him.

1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “And now abideth FAITH, HOPE, CHARITY, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” How precious and vital are these three to the believer. We live by faith. We operate in hope. We dwell in charity (love). Yet, LOVE is the greatest of these three. FAITH will one day give way to sight and will no longer be needed. HOPE will one day be fully realized and will no longer be needed. LOVE will endure forever for our dear God is love Himself. 1 John 4:8, “God is love.” It is love that “never faileth.” (1 Corinthians 13:8)

Let’s conclude this little meditation by considering the words of the Apostle Peter as he wrote in 1 Peter 1:18-21, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your FAITH and HOPE might be in God.” (246.10)