Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
The Difference Between Faith and Hope
As we continue to discuss the subject of faith, we need to explain the difference between faith and hope because a lack of understanding in this area keeps many people from receiving the blessings of God.
Some people are always hoping God hears their prayers, hoping to be healed, hoping to have their needs met. But hope is not faith, even if some says, “I believe I’ll receive the answer sometime,” that is still hope. They may be calling it faith, but it is really hope.
Here is how to tell whether you are really believing God or just hoping: hope is always future tense – pointing to the future – but faith is now. Faith says, “I’ll receive right now. I have it now.”
When it comes to receiving healing, I’ve had many people say to me, “Brother Hagin, I don’t understand why I haven’t received my healing. I know God promised to heal me.”
“God has not promised to heal you at all,” I tell them.
They reply, “Doesn’t the Word of God say, ‘Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses’? Isn’t that a promise?
No, that is not a promise. It is a statement of fact which tells you something that has already happened. It tells you what belongs to you. Hope always believes that God is going to do something for you in the future. Faith believes that He has done and is doing something for you right now.
I can illustrate the difference between faith and hope by relating an incident which took place in a tent meeting I conducted in Waco, Texas. A man came forward and got into prayer line to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I asked him, “Will you receive now as I lay my hands on you and pray?”
“Well, Brother Hagin,” he replied, “I sure hope so.”
I answered, “You won’t.”
That made him angry. In had meant to help him, not to anger him, so I added, “You don’t receive from God through hope; it’s by faith that you receive from God.”
He said, “I don’t know whether I’m going to receive it or not, so I’m not going to say I am.”
I then asked him, “if I offered you a dollar bill, would you say I don’t know if I can receive it or not’?”
“No, certainly not,” he replied.
“God offers you a gift that is just as easy to receive as a dollar I might offer you,” I said.
“But I have been seeking for about 13 years, and I haven’t received anything yet. I don’t know whether I will receive.”
He got quite upset, so I hugged him and ask him to sit on the front row awhile and watch as I pray and talked with other in the prayer line so he could see the difference between hoping and believing.
I came to a young lady who wanted to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I asked her if she was a Christian and if she believed in the baptism of the Holy Spirit. She affirmed she was a Christian and that she knew the baptism in the Holy Spirit was taught in the Bible. Then I asked her, “Will you receive the Holy Spirit now when I lay my hands on head and pray?”
“I certainly will,” she responded. “You know, I sat here tonight and followed every scripture you gave as you preached, and it’s all in there. The laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit is in the Word. I certainly will receive.”
I saw she was ready, so I reached out my right hand to lay it on her forehead, but before I could touch her, she threw up both hands and started speaking in tongues. I turned to the man on the front row and asked, ” now do you see the difference between just hoping and really believing?”
“Yes” he said, “I guess I do.”
He returned three nights later and was back in the prayer line. I said, “I see you’re back.”
“Yes,” he replied, “I’m back. And I’ll tell you something – I’ve changed my hope to faith, just pur your hands on me and I’ll be filled with the Holy Spirit right now!”
I reached out my hands and had hardly touched him before both of his hands went up and he began speaking in tongues. It makes such a difference when you really believe God and don’t just hope you’ll receive from him!