Restoring Hope

It’s Monday Grace!

“Have you come to the place in your life where you know that if you died, you would go to Heaven?”

If you recognize that question, especially if you have used it, you have probably been under the influence of something called “Evangelism Explosion,” a training program out of the ministry of D. James Kennedy. Back in the late 70’s and early 80’s it was quite popular.

I remember asking that question to a good number of people. Very often I got the same answer, “I hope so.”

I hope so.

The Christian hope. For some people, that’s about it. In fact, in some churches you aren’t going to get anything better than that. No one can be sure because of sin. No one can be sure because the church system doesn’t want anyone to feel free and complete. Even those churches that believe you cannot lose your salvation don’t like people resting in the promises of Jesus. They want us to keep striving, just in case.

But that’s not the Christian hope. The Christian hope is a certainty.

I have always found it interesting that the Greek word for “hope” sounds like our word “help.” Some say that’s just a coincidence, and it might be, but it is a good aid for remembering that “hope” does not mean “wish” in the Bible. When the Bible authors speak of their hope, they are speaking of what they believe or trust. When Paul says he hopes to visit someone, he means that is his intent and he trusts that the Lord will make it happen.

Sadly, we have allowed our hope to weaken into our desire or wish. I hope I will go to Heaven, someone will say. I hope my sins are forgiven. I hope Jesus loves me. But too often there is a sense of distrust or anxiety in those words. We like the idea of the promises, but we aren’t so sure they will happen. We hope so.

That is not the Christian hope.

Now, in the tradition of most evangelicals, the term “Christian hope” usually refers to eternal glory in Heaven. It is the future toward which we look with anticipation and expectation. Someday our Lord will come and take us home. That is certainly something good to look toward.

But even that is less than it should be. That’s the future, not today. That’s long in the future for some of us, not so long for others of us. What about now? Is there no hope for today?

By this time most of those who read here will know where I am going. JESUS IS OUR HOPE! (Not sorry for the caps.) We don’t look toward a promise or a future. We look to a Person. We are not standing on the shaky ground of wishes or desires, but on the firm ground of the Lord who loves us. We trust in Him.

The Christian’s hope is far more than a longing or yearning. He is real. He is with us. He is a Person. Jesus is the guarantee of all the promises. He is the life we live and the future we will enjoy. Our hope is as solid as God Himself.

Paul told the Colossians that this was the great mystery, the one unbelievers could never understand. Jesus Himself is our assurance, our security. We don’t need to be anything less than absolutely certain. Because He loves us, we will be just fine.

To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Colossians 1:27

The hope of glory, the hope of the believer, is Jesus. We are in Him. He is in us. The message of grace tells us that He has done all that is needed for us to be with Him eternally. Today and tomorrow.

He is our Hope.

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