Monday, 31 August 2009

A continuing & enduring hope, in God alone

a) Whilst our hope needs to continue to the end:
“But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.” (Heb 3:6)
“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” (Heb 6:10-12)
“But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation – if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.” (Col 1:22-23)

b) Yet our hope will enable us to endure:

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Rom 5:1-5).
“We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labour prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Th 1:3).
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Rom 12:12)

These last 2 points need to go together. Yes, we do need to hold onto our hope until the end, but it is because we have hope that we will hold on to it. Again, this is why we need to focus on our hope, for when we think about all that is set out ahead of us, why would we neglect such a great salvation? Our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

c) We must not put our hope in anything else other than God:
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” (1 Tim 6:17-19).

Having looked at the hope we have in God, there can be no good reason to put our hope in anything other than in God. Yet the temptation always remains to place more faith in what we can see than what we cannot see. We need to heed the words of Paul when he exhorts us to fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Cor 4:18).

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