|Vol. 16 No. 10 October 2014||
Mark N. Posey
The blessing of “Christ in you” is called “the hope of glory.” Unfortunately, there are those that have false hope (1 Corinthians 15:19). False hope will ultimately make one miserable. It’s hope in money, intellect, abilities, ceremonies and dead works. Thus, to live without Christ is to die without hope! Dante, in The Inferno, said the sign over the gate to Hell reads, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” There is no comfort at death except the sure hope of heaven. The word “hope” is a Greek word that means “confidence.” Those who belong to Christ have confidence of glory because they have been cleansed by Jesus’ blood. They have confidence because of His resurrection; they are confident of a better place. Therefore, the Christian’s hope is not the uncertain things of this world, but the well-grounded expectation of that which God has prepared for and promised to His people. What does “the hope of glory”involve?
A Good Hope
Paul said, “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17). In our intercessions and petitions, we would do well to remember God’s past faithfulness and present blessings. His faithfulness in the past is a promise of His faithfulness for the future. Consider this illustration: A man watched a little league baseball game one afternoon. He asked a boy in the dugout what the score was. The boy responded, “Eighteen to nothing – we’re behind.” “Wow,” said the spectator, “I’ll bet you’re discouraged.” “Why should I be discouraged?” replied the little boy. “We haven’t even gotten up to bat yet!” Hope is a good thing; it’s the best thing!
A Living Hope
Peter said, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). We are born again to a “living hope,” because we have eternal life in a Savior who has conquered death Himself. The hope lives because it is set on an inheritance incorruptible, which can never fade away-because it is reserved in heaven. This is a significant contrast to any inheritance on this earth. “There are no hopeless situations; there are only people who have grown hopeless about them” (Clare Luce).
A Purifying Hope
John said, “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure”(1 John 3:3). Having the anticipation of being with Jesus can have a marvelous purifying effect in our lives. It makes us want to be ready for His return. It also makes us want to serve and please Him.
A Blessed Hope
Paul told Titus, “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”(2:13). Grace teaches us to expect and prepare for our blessed hope, the second coming of Jesus. Christians should live in active expectation of the return of Jesus.
In conclusion, hope is a firm assurance regarding things that are unseen and unclear (Romans 8:24-25; Hebrews 11:1, 7). Of all people who are living, the Christian is the only one that has true hope.
In 1 John 3, John contemplated the redemptive work of God through Jesus Christ. In Verse 1, John proclaimed that Christians are loved of God, children of God and strangers to the world. In Verse 2, he gave Christians a glimpse into what they shall become in the future; namely, they will become like Jesus Christ at His return. Beginning in Verse 3, John expounded upon what Christians should be.
In Verse 3, John set forth a universal truth, “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself.” The biblical definition of hope is “desire with the expectation to receive.” It is much more than a wish because it is rooted in the belief that you will actually receive what is desired. The belief Christians have is not based on a “leap in the dark,” but instead, it is based on a solid foundation of evidence in the Word of God (Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:1). A Christian’s hope to become “like him” and to “see him as he is” on the Judgment Day resides “in Him.” The resurrection of Jesus Christ gives Christians hope that they will likewise be resurrected unto life eternal (1 Corinthians 15:17-22).
The hope that Christians have in Jesus is contingent upon their “purification.” The word translated “purifieth” means to be void of defilement and looks very similar to the word translated “holy.” The process of purification is a continuous and lifelong pursuit. The pursuit of purification begins at immersion (“baptism”) when one is born again (John 3:3-5) and has his or her past sins washed away (Acts 22:16). It is then imperative to exercise self-control to avoid sinning and defiling oneself before God (1 Corinthians 9:27; James 1:13-15). When sin does occur after baptism, and it most certainly will (1 John 1:10), repentance and confession brings one back into contact with the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ (1 John 7-9; Acts 8:22). It is sad that many fail to understand or accept personal responsibility for their own salvation. They live almost exclusively to feed their unlawful desires (1 John 2:15-17) and sin habitually before God (1 John 3:6-8), but yet they expect to receive the inheritance of God. Any hope they have, according to the inspired writer, is a vain hope. Their desire may be real, but their expectation is not based on the truth of the Gospel.
Finally, John provided Christians with the perfect example of purity, Jesus Christ. He instructed Christians to purify themselves “even as He is pure.” It is notable that John did not instruct Christians to purify themselves as Christ purified Himself. Jesus never sinned, and therefore, He never needed purification (1 John 3:5; Hebrews 4:15). However, it should be Christians’ goal to be like the God they serve (1 Peter 1:15-16).
Are you what you should be? If not, take the opportunity you have now to make yourself right with God and enjoy the hope of heaven.