952. What Happened to Hope?

 

How did we lose that excitement about what awaits us as followers of Christ?

IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING

There once was a man named Walter who lived in Anytown, USA. He was very poor and could barely feed his family. He had accepted poverty as his way of life. He spent all his time farming his property. But it hadn’t produced much in years. He, his wife, and children lived uneventful, sad, and quiet lives.

Then one day, a man from the Global Oil and Gas Company knocked on his door. He asked if his company could start a drilling operation on his property. Within a month, the company uncovered the largest oil reserve in the history of their company. Within another month, the papers were signed and Walter and his family became incredibly wealthy—more money that they could possibly spend in a lifetime. The oil was there all along. It was his. He just didn’t know about it until someone discovered the truth. Imagine how different his life would have been if he had learned the truth sooner. Even before he ever received a cent, he would have been filled with joy knowing what was coming.

Many Christians are like Walter. Everything that belongs to Christ is theirs too, but they don’t know it, so they live lives of quiet desperation. This is especially true of the hope we as believers are to have in light of what awaits us. In the opening passages of 1 Peter, the apostle is helping his readers deal with the persecution they are experiencing and the sufferings that will surely come. To prepare them, Peter stresses the wonderful things that await them—their inheritance as children of God. Remembering these things will help them in their darkest hours.

He urges them to stand firm in their faith so that when Christ returns, their unwavering faith will result in praise, glory, and honor. He seems to be saying that Christ’s glory will be increased by the presence of believers whose faith has passed every test. We will be recognized by God, and our faith will be vindicated. All the pain and struggling will be more than worth it. According to Peter, all this and more will happen when Christ is revealed, and that’s his point. The best news of all is that we will finally see Jesus, and we will see Him in all His power and glory.

 AS I SEE IT

Peter is saying that the Christian life should be characterized by a hope in what God will do in the future. Believers should look forward to salvation in the world to come. Their lives should be future-oriented since this world is not our home. We’re just passing through. We will never be or feel truly at home until our salvation is completed and we are no longer bound to this world.

I wrote this article because I believe that today’s church has lost the future dimension of or faith and salvation. We’re not spurred on by thoughts of future glory. We have become so used to instant everything that we can’t really wrap our minds around something that’s beyond our current grasp. We may believe in the concept of hope in the future, but it has little or no real importance in our daily lives. We live in the moment and way too often, under the circumstances.

Consequently, when we consider our salvation, we limit it to the here and now forget about what still awaits us. We focus only on the present aspect of salvation—our justification—being saved from the penalty of sin. That’s a done deal, but we forget about the fact that we are in the process of being saved from the power of sin—our sanctification, and one day we will be saved from the very presence of sin—our glorification.

Let’s face it, we are an impatient bunch with short attention spans. Yet, we don’t have to stay that way, and the best way to change is to spend time thinking about what awaits us and how wonderful it will be. It’s one thing to look forward to our new bodies. Most of us can relate to that, but the other stuff, not so much. That’s unfortunate since I believe that our new bodies will be insignificant compared to the completion of our salvation.

Our problems with hope also prevent us from trusting in the God we claim to love and serve. If we’re too focused on the here and now, it’s nearly impossible to trust Him for something He promises to do some time in the future. We want our answers now, but God’s timing is seldom our timing.

What Peter is advocating is a far cry from, “Cheer up, things will work out.” Things don’t just work out when we are dependent on God. He works them out according to His promises, and He has never failed to keep a promise. Our hope is based on God’s promises to us. The best way to display our faith in our Heavenly Fathers is to live in light of His promises, especially those that are currently beyond our reach. Let’s reignite our hope and start living from a kingdom perspective.

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