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Hope versus Faith

August 15, 2006

What would a good Too German blog be without some Martin Luther.  I recently read this in a book by Martin Luther called “The Way of Faith”.  I found it helpful and wanted to share it.  This passage is from Luther’s Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians:

The question occurs to us, What difference is there between faith and hope? We find it difficult to see any difference. Faith and hope are so closely linked that they cannot be separated. Still there is a difference between them.      

First, hope and faith differ in regard to their sources. Faith originates in the understanding, while hope rises in the will.

Secondly, they differ in regard to their functions. Faith says what is to be done. Faith teaches, describes, directs. Hope exhorts the mind to be strong and courageous.

Thirdly, they differ in regard to their objectives. Faith concentrates on the truth. Hope looks to the goodness of God.

Fourthly, they differ in sequence. Faith is the beginning of life before tribulation. (Hebrews 11.) Hope comes later and is born of tribulation. (Romans 5.)

Fifthly, they differ in regard to their effects. Faith is a judge. It judges errors. Hope is a soldier. It fights against tribulations, the cross, despondency, despair, and waits for better things to come in the midst of evil.

Without hope faith cannot endure. On the other hand, hope without faith is blind rashness and arrogance because it lacks knowledge. Before anything else a Christian must have the insight of faith, so that the intellect may know its directions in the day of trouble and the heart may hope for better things. By faith we begin, by hope we continue.

This passage (Galatians 5) contains excellent doctrine and much comfort. It declares that we are justified not by works, sacrifices, or ceremonies, but by Christ alone. The world may judge certain things to be ever so good; without Christ they are all wrong. Circumcision and the law and good works are carnal. “We,” says Paul, “are above such things. We possess Christ by faith and in the midst of our afflictions we hopefully wait for the consummation of our righteousness.”

You may say, “The trouble is I don’t feel as if I am righteous.” You must not feel, but believe. Unless you believe that you are righteous, you do Christ a great wrong, for He has cleansed you by the washing of regeneration, He died for you so that through Him you may obtain righteousness and everlasting life.

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19 comments

  1. Thanks, very nice summary of Martin Luther’s treatise on faith and hope


  2. thanks this has been very helpfull


  3. YjHZIJ Thanks for good post


  4. Great information on your blog!


  5. Thanks, this is perfect. Wish I found it about 3 hours ago!


  6. Thanks for all you ideas! I sure will be back to visit your site again so i can learn more.


  7. Thank you! I’m teaching a Bible study on hope and I was (hopelessly) confused about the difference. This helps a lot.


  8. This blog was shared by a dear friend – Gracias Nancy B. As Nancy stated, fiath is a sigh glass and this explination of Faith and Hope has, without a doubt, enlightened my understanding and given me a different perspective. God Bless you all.


  9. Thank you. I was working on fides quaerens intellectum for some time and struggling to move from faith to hope, naturally I realize. I looked for faith seeking hope and found spes quarens intellectum. Your post has enlightened the progression, and I have shared it with a friend.


  10. i am a born again christian aged 28.God has told me and gave plenty of prophetical hopes through prophets more than seven times.But i didn’t get the ingredient keys how to come with it.I started murmering to God.Because i have some covenants from God before 7 years which are not yet come to the truth even.
    So,i need you to advise me and give me the keys to open my hopes through faith.
    Expecting your quick and positive response!


  11. What do you mean to say by this statement, “God has told me and gave plenty of prophetical hopes through prophets more than seven times”.

    Help me understand what these prophetical hopes are and I can try to relate them back to hope.


  12. ahmm nice one! thanks for helping me in..hope that all of us will know the difference between faith and hope..not only knowing that words but by applying it in real life..


  13. Please kindly put more light on the difference between hope, faith and believe. and some bible quotation.
    Thanks.


  14. thank Q…god BLess


  15. Thanks a lot i have just done my home work but i need more bible qotes pls.it just saved me from a lot work.thank’s


  16. thank you for helping me understand!


  17. Thanks a lot have learn a lot from this i my pray may GOD give me the grace to is will in JESUS name AMEN


  18. thank you. very useful your post :)


  19. Hope and Faith are not specifically religious words. You can have both without any reference whatsoever to a god.
    Faith relates to absolute confidence in your current knowledge about something now, and without a reason.
    Hope relates to wanting something to happen in the future, or wanting something to be true.
    Faith does not teach, nor does it concentrate on the truth. It is an irrational position used when someone refuses to support a view with a reason.
    Belief is the word you are probably looking for when you talk about a view that is supported with reasons.
    Questioning and reasoning, however, ensure that we continually place tighter limits on the things we have faith in and the things we know with supported reasons and evidence.
    Hopefully humans can continue along this path to seek the truth so that we no longer feel compelled to have faith.



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