Regardless of the what this year will bring us, one of the things that believers of Christ should exhibit in life is JOY. As we face 2017 there are three terrible illnesses in this world that we must effectively cure — Living in the past, complaining about the present and worrying about the future.
And while it’s possible for a man to live up to 70 days without food, 10 days without water, 6 minutes without air, there is one thing that man is not possible to live without, that is HOPE. Hope is indeed a powerful force, without it you are a powerless person.
“There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tunic so powerful as expectations of something better tomorrow.” — GK Chesterton
Hope mentioned in the Bible is not wishful thinking. Biblical hope is expecting a guaranteed fulfilment. When God gives a promise and hope to His people, there is something about the future that is certain to happen. One example of hope chronicled in the the Old Testament is the hope of the coming of a Messiah and He did came through Jesus Christ. New Testament offers Christians today same hope that the Messiah will return. This kind of hope is beyond positive thinking. Hope that produces joy in the midst of trial, endurance in the midst of delay and the Godly character in spite of despair. Therefore followers of Christ as we are waiting, can be confident in the future and rejoice in hope.
As we rejoice in hope, it is critical to know the object of our hope. What is it that we are looking to in the future? There are three hope setters that we can learn from the Bible.
I. Rejoice in hope of the resurrection from dead
“This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.” — Acts 2:32
In Acts 2:25-32, Peter convinced the crowd that Jesus was the Messiah by comparing the death of David and Jesus. When David died, his tomb and remains was with them but when Jesus died his tomb was empty. Another evidence are the prophecies, David predicted it and Jesus fulfilled the prophecy. Because of Jesus’ resurrection, the hope of the resurrection for all the followers of Jesus is guaranteed.
II. Rejoice in hope of the glory of God
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” — Romans 5:1-2
In this passage Paul delineates what are the benefits of being justified by faith. First we have peace with God because we have been forgiven. Secondly, we have a process of grace, God initiates the grace and therefore we live by grace and not by performance. Finally we have a purpose of glory.
What is the difference of holiness and glory of God? Holiness is to be in a class by Himself in His perfection, greatness and worth. While the glory of God is the manifest beauty of His holiness, the going public of His holiness, to put His holiness on display for people to apprehend it.
III. Rejoice in hope of the body of Christ
“But we brethren, having been taken away from you for a short while — in person, not in spirit — were all the more eager with great desire to see your face. For we wanted to come to you — I Paul, more than once — and yet Satan hindered us. For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.” — 1 Thessalonians 2:17-20
Paul reveals his heart in these passages. Paul exhibits longing for a reunion with his brothers in Christ. He takes pride in how the body of Christ(church) have grown and matured serving the Lord. Therefore we too are to demonstrate love to our brethren today, be transformed and disciple believers.
This new year, what are you looking forward to? When you look forward to something ultimate, it must transform who you are today. A gentle reminder, beware lest you become so heavenly minded that you’re of no earthly good!