Hope

These thoughts on hope are taken from a sermon by Dr. Tim Keller, pastor of the Church of the Redeemer (PCA) in New York City. The English word “hope” connotes uncertainty. “Are you sure that’s going to happen?” “No, but I sure hope so.” But in the Greek of the New Testament “hope” means certainty. Listen to Hebrews 11.1: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (ESV). To rephrase this verse, biblical hope is life-shaping certainty about the future. It means living now in a way that is completely changed, because you know what will happen to you in the future. Here is another verse on which to meditate: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope”. Our hope derives from the God who has promised that “all things work together for good to those who love Him” (Rm. 8.28), the God whose power raised Jesus from the dead (Rm. 8.22), and from the Holy Spirit who dwells in us and is the guarantee of the salvation of those who love Him (Eph. 1.12-14). This certain knowledge which hope gives us of our eternal salvation makes all the difference in this life. Most El Pasoans who are not Christians think that when they die, that’s the end. They think either there’s no God or that God will not give them eternal life, so they go through all the trials and tribulations of this life with the sense that this life is all there is, and that life has no meaning. Those who have this view of life may not realize it, but if there is no God who is the eternal Judge who determines right from wrong, then it doesn’t make any difference what they do in this life. If there is no God and no Judge, then there are no moral consequences in this life and you can do whatever you can get away with. But you can’t be happy. There’s no meaning and no purpose. Their belief that there is no ultimate future penetrates their psyche. It infiltrates their life; it infuses their heart. It produces a weariness; a sense of meaninglessness slowly permeates their life, and they don’t know why. Do you know why? Its because they have no hope. We humans are hope-based creatures — what we believe about the ultimate future completely determines how we live now. Scripture encourages us “to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor or the soul” (Heb. 6.18,19). Our hope is base on the One who makes the promises to us, the One who dwells in us and is the guarantee of our hope. Paul says that “at one time you were excluded from the citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2.12), but now “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints …” (Eph.1.18). We who believe are His saints, members of His covenant family, adopted children whom He loves with an everlasting love. We are His treasured possession (Mal. 3.17). The Lord of the universe who owns all the galaxies and all the stars and planets in the heavens considers you — those who are in Christ, those who are included in Christ — to be His treasure. When He looks at you, He feels rich. This is how He values you. This is he nature of the hope He has given us, which He wants us to “open the eyes of our heart” to see (Eph. 1.18).

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