By Dr. Dan Coflin
Pastor, River of Life Church
We live in a world where people are increasingly concerned about contagions. Vaccines, masks, face shields and social distancing have become the new normal for many. It is wise to be aware of our environment and avoid those coughing, sneezing, wheezing, or otherwise symptomatic of some sickness, but there are some contagions we should hope to transmit to as many people as we can.
We have all heard terms like, “she has such a contagious laugh” or “he just lights up the room” to describe people who carry joy or peace or encouragement that changes the very atmosphere everywhere they go. When the Apostle Paul was completing his letter to the church in Rome, he declared over them this blessing, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).
The word “abound” carries the idea of super abundance, to exceed or have an overflowing amount, more than you can contain. In other words, the joy and peace you have is constantly flowing out of you and onto everyone around you. That is a kind of contagion we should all hope for, but we will never infect others with hope, joy, or peace without first being filled with those things ourselves.
The source of hope comes from “the God of hope.” The word translated “hope” here does not mean, Gee, I sure hope so,” but instead it is a joyful expectation of what has been promised arriving. The Bible teaches us that hope is something you are expecting but have not yet seen (Romans 8:24). God has given us “exceedingly great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:4) and that by these promises we would be partakers of God’s divine nature. God’s hope, his joy, and peace would become such a normal part of our lives that we would live with a constant expectation that everything God promises he will fulfill.
“God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it.” (Numbers 23:19 ESV). The prophet is assuring us of God’s faithfulness to perform his word. The writer of Hebrews shows us that “…faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
Faith is the “title deed of ownership.” You may own a piece of property you have never seen but the proof of your ownership is the official document, the deed. We have the official document of ownership for all of God’s promises if we have faith. Faith is powerful and most of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews details the heroic acts of those who had faith in God. Moving mountains, subduing armies, defeating giants, or raising the dead were all done by faith in God and by the faith of God. Do you have faith?
Faith is not some nebulous entity because we all have faith in something. To have God’s faith we must have received God’s Word. That Word is not just the record of God’s acts, but it is the One that perfectly expressed by his words and deeds God’s love for you. Jesus is called the Word of God (John 1:1-14) and when we receive God’s Word (Jesus) we receive the God of Hope and all His promises. With Jesus in our lives, we carry a contagious hope that lightens every room and spreads joy and peace everywhere we go.