Faith and Hope Compared (Bunyan)

 As many of you know, the name of one character in Pilgrim’s Progress was Hope.  Hope very much helped Christian on the way to the Celestial City.  Speaking of Hope – and John Bunyan’s writing – here’s an excellent biblical comparison Bunyan made of faith and hope.  I’ve edited it a bit to make it easier to read:

1. Faith comes by hearing (Rom 10:17), hope by experience (Rom 5:3, 4).
2. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God, hope comes by the credit that faith hath given to it (Rom 4:18).
3. Faith believes the truth of the Word, hope waits for the fulfilling of it.
4. Faith lays hold of that end of the promise that is next to us, that is, in the Bible; hope lays hold of that end of the promise that is fastened to the mercy-seat.  The promise is like a mighty cable that is fastened by one end to a ship, and by the other to the anchor.  The soul is the ship where faith is, and to which the other end of this cable is fastened; but hope is the anchor that is at the other end of this cable, and which enters into that within the veil. Thus faith and hope lay hold of both ends of the promise and they carry it safely all away.
5. Faith looks to Christ, as dead, buried, risen, and ascended; and hope to his return (1 Cor 15:1–4). Faith looks to him for justification, hope looks to him for glory (Rom 4:1–8).
6. Faith fights for doctrine, hope for a reward (Acts 26:6, 7). Faith fights for what is in the Bible, hope fights for what is in heaven (Col 1:3–5).
7. Faith purifies the heart from bad principles (1 John 5:4, 5). Hope purifies the heart from bad conduct (2 Peter 3:11, 14; Eph 5:8; 1 John 3:3).
8. Faith sets hope to work, hope sets patience to work (Acts 28:20; 9:9). Faith says to hope, “Look for what is promised;” hope says to faith, “I do look, and will wait for it too.”
9. Faith looks through the Word to God in Christ; hope looks through faith beyond the world to glory (Gal 5:5).

John Bunyan, Israel’s Hope Encouraged, from volume 1 of Works.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI

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