Hope is essential to life. Hopelessness leads to increased depression and suicide rates, especially among youth and young adults. For the Christian, our source of hope is not found in the world around us. Rather, it is found in the Lord Jesus Christ and his word. As the church, we must proclaim that message of hope to the world.

In Romans 5:1-5, the Apostle Paul writes: "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

We have hope in the glory of God. He is transforming us through his word and by the power of the Holy Spirit into his image and likeness. The Bible tells us that it is "from glory to glory" that he is changing us. And that gives us hope. I am not the man I was, nor am I the man I will be. I am growing and becoming more and more like Him every day. I am not bound by my mistakes and failures. They help shape me but they do not define me. My personhood, my worth is defined by Jesus Christ.

We have hope in the promises of God. The children's Sunday school song reminds us that "every promise in the Book is mine." It is through reading and studying God's word that we are changed. His word helps shape our life and gives it focus. Through his word, we learn that we have a living hope, a better home and protection from harm. His "exceeding great and precious promises" sustains us throughout our lives.

We have hope in the immutability of God. God does not change. He is the same, "yesterday, today and forever." The eternal God is infinitely, eternally and fundamentally the same today as he has always been.

The Bible clearly teaches that foundational core of God's nature is an infinite love, which allows him to not only relate to us, but to become a man in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. And as that man, he died on the cross to forgive all our sins and to redeem us unto himself.

In this world, where man seems hell-bent on self destruction, it is the church's responsibility to share our eternal hope with all humanity. If you are reading this without hope, please contact one of the area pastors who will gladly share the hope of the world with you.

"My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' Name. On Christ the solid rock, I stand. All other ground is singing sand. All other ground is sinking sand." - "The Solid Rock," words by Edward Mote.

"On Faith" is a weekly column in the News-Chronicle written by area religious leaders.