Without God and Without Hope

Without God and Without Hope

April 2, 2024

In those days you were living apart from Christ … You lived in this world without God and without hope. Ephesians 2:12 NLT

The Pew Research Center released their most recent results concerning faith in America in early 2024. Atheists make up 4% of U.S. adults, according to the 2023 National Public Opinion Reference Survey. That compares with 3% who described themselves as atheists in 2014 and 2% who did so in 2007.

An atheist is a person who does not believe that there is a god. This person is one of the people Paul describes as without hope. The absence of God leads to an absence of hope.

But there’s another kind of atheist – a functional atheist. This person not only believes that a god exists. He or she believes that the one true God exists, that He created the heavens and the earth, and that He is still in charge of the world. The functional atheist believes that Jesus Christ paid the death for our sins, that He is the resurrected King and Lord, and that He has created heaven for us. Till then, He will keep every promise. But most days, he lives as though none of that were true. In practical ways he lives as if there is no God, and we are without transforming hope in the world.

When we are functional atheists (and many of us are), we live as though everything depends on us. We worry and demand. We try to control. We chase things we think will satisfy us more than God. When God doesn’t do as we think He should, we are disappointed, maybe angry, and we have little to no hope. Anytime we omit the centrality of the alive and resurrected Jesus from our thoughts, words, choices, and decisions, we have eliminated the Easter hope that transforms us. We have deleted the presence and power of the Hope of the world.

It's not just that WE have no hope, but as Paul said, we ARE “in the world.” The world is the people who are truly without hope, and they are looking for it. When we who know Jesus do not live distinctively different, we fail our mission. Our God becomes small, distant, irrelevant, and uncaring to us and to the watching world. Does the way we serve God and exhibit the positive Hope that is Jesus, even in the midst of great difficulty, inspire others to follow Him?

  • Jesus, You are the hope of the world. I cannot begin to see life and eternity accurately and with hope without You. YOU are the hope of the world. Help me never lose sight of You so that I can make decisions based on Your promises. Help me see You everywhere. Help me live with Easter Hope in the world. Amen.