Something “deferred” is put off, delayed, or suspended. The longer a person goes without seeing their hope realized, the more likely they are to become discouraged. Seeing one’s hopes coming to pass is uplifting. Many passages in Scripture are pleas to God, asking Him to bring about promises which seem to have been deferred (Habakkuk 1:2–4Psalm 89:46).

Of course, if hope is something which will never happen, it is false hope. That can only lead to grief. When a person comes to believe his hope is meaningless, he may become depressed. False teachers who claim those who pray and donate money will be rich and healthy are selling false hope. Others, who promote salvation by works instead of by grace, corrupt the hopes of people who believe they will go to heaven by doing good deeds. Those hopes are false, however. Paul writes in Ephesians 2:8–9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Paul was so incensed by the false teaching that religious works were necessary for salvation that he commanded the Galatian believers, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8). “Accursed” means devoted to destruction.

The hope of heaven that believers have is a sure hope (John 10:28–29). It is sure because it is founded on a perfect, sinless God (Hebrew 4:15Titus 3:51 Timothy 2:5).