Calvin on Faith and Hope

“For if faith, as has been said above, is a sure persuasion of the truth of God – that it can neither lie to us, nor deceive us, nor become void – then those who have grasped this certainty assuredly expect the time to come when God will fulfill his promises, which they are persuaded cannot but be true.  Accordingly, in brief, hope is nothing else than the expectation of those things which faith has believed to have been truly promised by God.  Thus, faith believes God to be true, hope awaits the time when his truth shall be manifested; faith believes that he is our Father, hope anticipates that he will ever show himself to be a Father toward us; faith believes that eternal life has been given to us; hope anticipates that it will some time be revealed; faith is the foundation upon which hope rests, hope nourishes and sustains faith.  For as no one except him who already believes His promises can look for anything from God, so again the weakness of our faith must be sustained and nourished by patient hope and expectation, lest it fail and grow faint. . . . Hope strengthens faith, that it may not waver in God’s promises, or begin to doubt concerning their truth.  Hope refreshes faith, that it may not become weary.  It sustains faith to the final goal, that it may not fail in midcourse, or even at the starting gate.  In short, by unremitting renewing and restoring, it invigorates faith again and again with perseverance.”1

  1. John Calvin, John Calvin: Selections from his Writings, ed. John Dillenberger (New York: Anchor Doubleday, 1971), 421.

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