|Volume 22 Number 2 February 2020||
The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Hope is something that seems to be in short supply these days. Every time a commercial break comes on television, it’s loaded with commercials designed to terrify you into buying a product or a service. Many have accused the Bible of doing exactly the same thing, and yet that’s not the message of the Bible at all!
Now, understand that hell is very real, but the Messiah did not come to send anyone there. In John 3:17, it is revealed to us that “God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” The Lord Jesus Himself said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). The life He offers is one full of purpose, direction and hope. Further, this hope is not just for today, but it is for all eternity. It is a hope on which one can depend in the darkest of times. In a world full of broken people, dysfunctional families and corrupted nations, the hope of Christ is essential to our survival. Yet, there is more to life than mere survival. We must thrive, and the church of Christ has a vital role in the well-being of Adam’s race. The Gospel message is one of hope, liberty and dignity. We need someone in whom to put our trust, and that person is our Lord Jesus Christ.
The prophet declared, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is” (Jeremiah 17:7). Many follow but deny the power of Christ and His hope. The message of humanism is bleak indeed. “And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart” (Jeremiah 18:12). Contrary to their twisted worldview, selfishness is not a virtue, and those who have an inflated sense of self-importance cause much pain and care little for their fellow man. They seek to quench hope, while centering the world upon themselves and defying God. They prohibit His Word or twist it to suit their selfish agendas.
Paul wrote, “Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace” (2 Thessalonians 2:16). As Christ’s own, we are focused upon him! In Christ, we live for God, symbolically dying and rising through baptism in Him. We are His! No wonder Peter declared, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3-4).
This is our hope—hearts mended, with everlasting life that’s free from selfish people full of entitlement and wickedness and the restoration of earth’s rightful ruler and His just way. In 1 John 3:3, the beloved apostle wrote, “Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” Let us rest in the promises of the Bible and trust with total confidence in our most holy God. As David said in his Psalm of remembrance, “In thee, O LORD, do I hope: Thou wilt hear, O Lord my God” (Psalm 38:15).
Liberality in the Work of God
Ronald D. Reeves
The ideal congregation practices liberality in both attitude and action, especially as such relates to spiritual labors. Observing the application of this ideal throughout the various subgroups of the congregation is most commendable for those so practicing. The apostle Paul, in commending liberality, encouraged the brethren in Corinth to sow bountifully (2 Corinthians 9:6) and to “lay by him in store as God hath prospered him” (1 Corinthians 16:2). He set before them the sacrificial liberality of the Macedonians to motivate them unto similar action (2 Corinthians 8:1-7). Liberality may also be exercised in other contexts that are equally important, including spiritual labors in evangelism, edification and benevolence. May we better learn the art of liberality in mercy (Colossians 3:12) and compassion (Matthew 18:21-35). May we better develop loving concern for all men (Romans 13:8) and exercise liberality in the wise use of our time and talents (Matthew 25:14-30). May we be as the Macedonians who first gave themselves unto the Lord (2 Corinthians 8:5). Only then may we truly prosper. As spiritual efforts are implemented in our congregations, designed for both men and women, may we be as Isaiah and therefore affirm, “Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8).