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Hebrews 6:9-22


Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things- things that belong to salvation. For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.


For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, "Surely I will bless you and multiply you." And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.(ESV)




Hope In Christ Makes Us Different

Emperor Constantine, Christian Ruler, and Helena, Mother of Constantine

21 May 2015

Hope and faith are the obverse and reverse of the same coin. Faith trusts that what God promises He can and does do. Faith is a confident hope in things that are unseen (Heb 11:1). Hope will never be disappointed, not because hope is anything in itself, but because it appropriates to itself the precious merits of Jesus Christ offered to the poor sinner. Hope frees from the fear of death, grasps the forgiveness of sins, rescues from despair, relishes the commutation of the sentence of death, and gives confidence of ultimate rescue in the midst of suffering and trials. When hope is hope in Christ, it has and looks forward to all the divine blessings. It lives as if it already resided in the heavenly home that Christ went to our Father to prepare.


Our hope is like a bride's love for her bridegroom. She comes into the marriage with nothing to offer him but love. This love receives him. That is its goal. So it is for the Christian hope. We offer it to the Bridegroom, Christ, so that in that hope we might receive the heavenly Bridegroom Himself and with Him receive all His gifts and graces. Our offering is one that receives; it gets rather than gives. This is why it cannot disappoint. This why it saves: because it grasps Christ.


Focusing people on the Christian hope was taken to be a diversion from the "real" concerns of life in this world. Leftists accused the church of being slaves to the entrenched powers by encouraging the poor and dispossessed to focus on the life of the world to come. "Hey, things are bad now. You bet. But just focus on what is yet to come in heaven and you will get through it. Just accept things as they are." On this theory, the church deflected unrest and kept people from rebelling against the authorities, while those in authority got rich on the backs of the poor. Of course, what we now know about economics alone puts this interpretation of economic life to the lie. The poor cannot make the rich rich and keeping them poor will make everyone poorer; including "the rich." As President John F. Kennedy said, "A rising tide lifts all boats." Prosperity grows for everyone, when it grows. And as it turns out, giving people an other-worldly hope is also likely to allow them to be successful in the world, as Vishal Mangalwadi showed in his wonderful book, The Book That Made Your World. So being heavenly-minded or earthly-minded is not an either/or but a both/and. The leftists are just dead wrong about "pie-in-the-sky" theology. If we have the hope of Christ, we are far more likely to build hospitals, schools, or other charitable institutions. When was the last time you visited a hospital or a university founded by Muslims or atheists? Our hope in Christ makes us different. 


John Chrysostom


"'For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?' (Rm 8:24). Paul had dwelt upon the promise of the things to come. If the blessings are all a matter of hope, this seemed to trouble the weaker hearer. After proving that they are surer than things present and visible, discoursing at length on the gifts already given, and showing that we have received the firstfruits of those good things, and lest we should seek our all in this world and be traitors to the nobility that faith gives us, Paul says, "We were saved by hope." Therefore, we are not to seek our all in this life, but to have hope also. For this is the only gift that we brought to God; believing Him in what He promised will come. We were saved this way alone. If we lose this hope, we have lost our entire contribution. Paul would ask you, 'Were you not responsible for countless evils? Didn't you despair? Didn't you experience the sentence of death? Didn't you lose heart about your salvation? What then saved you?' It was your hoping in God alone, and trusting in Him about His promises and gifts. And you had nothing greater to offer.


"If hope saved you, hold it fast now also. For that which afforded you such great blessings, will certainly not deceive you in regard to things to come. Because it found you dead, ruined, a prisoner, and an enemy, yet made you a friend, a son, a freeman, righteous, and a fellow heir, and yielded such great things which no one could ever expect, how, after such generosity and fellowship, will it betray you in the future? Don't say to me, 'Not hopes again! Not expectations again! Not faith again!' For it is in this way you were saved from the beginning, and this dowry was the only one that you brought to the Bridegroom. Hold it fast and keep it then.
John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 14.6

Almighty and everlasting God, Your Son has assured forgiveness of sins and deliverance from eternal death. Strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit that our faith in Christ might increase daily and that we might hold fast to the hope that on the Last Day we shall be raised in glory to eternal life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.


For those who grieve, that they would mourn with hope of the resurrection of the flesh and the life of the world to come


For police officers and other public safety officials, that the Lord would send holy angels to watch over them and guard them from harm of body and soul


For Walter Friend, that he might continue to recover from cancer surgery and be granted a full recovery

Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias Resurrection (1515)

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