Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 18 Number 1 January 2016
Page 2

Editorial

Trusting God

How embarrassing! In my grief I found myself not trusting God to attend to and care for the love of my life, my dear departed wife. Surely, my sorrow was heightened by my failure to trust God fully. While others rejoiced in part because Bonnie no longer suffered pain and surely was resting comfortably in the bosom of Abraham (Luke 16:22) in paradise (Luke 23:43), I could not bring myself to share those sentiments.

Doubtlessly, wanting to put her house in order – wanting to make sure (2 Peter 1:10), weeks before she passed away, Bonnie asked me if she were saved. I responded that she and I had done everything that we knew to do in God’s Holy Word for the forgiveness of sins and preparedness for eternity. Underlying even such a response resonates a chink in the armor of trusting God. “But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation” (Psalms 13:5). “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For Jehovah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation’” (Isaiah 12:2).

Does God really exist? Has He forgiven us of our many and frequent sins? Will He really usher us – feeble, beggarly specimens of mortality – into His heavenly home forever? Can we trust God?

It is at times like these when we have no control and no answers for such things as terminal illness followed by premature death that one inspects his belief system and inspects his relationship with the God of his belief system. Nothing brings about a reality check in one’s life like the death of a dear loved one.

That God certainly exists is heralded loudly at every juncture of this created and designed universe. From the heavenly bodies to the very composition of our bodies God shouts, “I am!” (Romans 1:20). Subsequently, it is in the Bible that mankind discovers the details, about God as well as about a myriad of other pieces of indispensable knowledge.

Upon reexamination of personal faith, contingent on the system of faith – the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the origin and trustworthiness of the Bible comes to the forefront. There is no book like it – or even close to it – among all of the literary works in the whole world. No other document is even closely validated by as many ancient manuscripts as is the Bible. No other writing is as perfectly in tune with itself, though human penman (i.e., about 40 men) transcribed it over a millennium and a half (i.e., about 1,600 years); the Bible not only does not contradict itself, but neither does it contradict historical, geographical, topographical or truly scientific facts.

The one biblical feature that clearly sets the Bible apart from every other document is the accuracy of its several hundred prophecies and fulfillments – something that merely human productions are incapable of duplicating. For instance, the prophecies of Isaiah (2:1-3) and Daniel (2:31-45), made about 700 years before their fulfillment, were completely fulfilled regarding the establishment of the church. Besides additional similar prophecies and subsequent fulfillments, over 300 ancient prophecies regarding the coming of the Messiah (i.e., the Christ) were fulfilled also in every minute detail.

Therefore, one’s confidence is rightly placed in the Bible, for it is the Word of Almighty God. In the Bible, we learn of God, as well as the blessings that He reserves for His obedient (Hebrews 5:8-9), adopted children (Romans 8:15; Ephesians 1:5). Hence, to summarize using a colloquial expression, trust in God ‘is the only ballgame in town’ – there is no one else to whom we can turn other than to God (John 6:67-69). There is hope in no other (Acts 4:12)!

That hope must not be confined to our planetary home, but it must be based in the eternal, spiritual realm. “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (1 Corinthians 15:19 NKJV). “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 NKJV).

“In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge” (Proverbs 14:26). “Trust in the Lord forever, For in Jehovah, the Lord, is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:4). “The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him” (Nahum 1:7).

We mortals have no viable choice other than to trust God (2 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Timothy 6:17). “Keep my soul, and deliver me; Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You” (Psalms 25:20). “But my eyes are upon You, O God  the Lord; In You I take refuge; Do not leave my soul destitute” (Psalms 141:8). “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord” (Jeremiah 17:7).

The trials, adversities and personal tragedies with which we are buffeted in life are bigger than we are able to accommodate alone. Therefore, we need to ‘cast all of our cares upon God, for He cares for us’ (1 Peter 5:7). “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You” (Psalms 9:10). “He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord” (Psalms 112:7).

Again with the psalmist we can identify. “Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust” (Psalms 16:1). “But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, You are my God” (Psalms 31:14). “…I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever” (Psalms 52:8). “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalms 23:4).

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). At best, our “own understanding” is shortsighted and incomplete. “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” (Psalms 34:8). “How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings” (Psalms 36:7).


Editorial

Blessed Hope

Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor

Rodney NulphHow futile life would be without real hope! Hope is cause for joy (Romans 15:13)! Little wonder then why many in our world lack joy. Sadly, far too many people live day by day not ever discovering real hope. Real hope, in contrast to false hope, is anticipation, a surety. It is not a “wish” or “guess,” but rather it is a sure guarantee. According to God’s Word, real hope involves at least three concepts.

Firstly, real hope involves a condition. Hope can be lost by a person walking away from the truth of God’s Word. “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel…” (Colossians 1:23a). The conditional “if” is a serious part of lasting hope. My eternal hope depends upon my everyday obedience. If a person decides to walk away from hope, hope is gone until that person decides to come back. Thankfully, God is always waiting for the apostate’s return (Luke 15:11ff).

Secondly, real hope involves an expectation. Far too many Christians face each day as though they “may have hope” or they “wish they had hope.” However, real biblical hope is not a wish or a guess, but it is a promise! What kind of life would the Christina life be if we only guessed or wished for our eternal hope? John promised, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life…” (1 John 5:13a). Our hope in Christ is as sure as anything of which we can be assured! “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Titus 1:2). “That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us; Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil” (Hebrews 6:18-19). If you are faithful to Christ, you must be “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

Lastly, real hope involves a foundation. The difference between the Christian’s hope and the “hope” of the world is that the Christian’s hope is undergirded and protected by a sure foundation (contrast Ephesians 2:12 with Ephesians 2:20ff; cf. 1 Peter 1:3). The fact that Jesus is the Son of God secures and strengthens the hope of the one who belongs to Him.

Life can now be lived with joy and peace because of the hope we have in Christ. Oh that all would have this hope! The difference between a futile life and a fantastic life centers on real hope. “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” (Romans 15:13).


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