‘He is risen!’- Part 23
The Basis of the Believer’s Hope. The foundation for the believer’s confident hope derives from the nature of God, of Jesus Christ, and of God’s Word. (1) Scripture reveals how God has proved Himself faithful in the past on behalf of His people. Ps 22, for example, reveals David’s struggle with a personal situation that threatens his life. When he reflects on God’s actions in the past, however, he feels confident that God will deliver him: “Our father trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them” (Ps 22:4). The miraculous power that the Creator has demonstrated for His faithful people’s benefit is evident in the exodus, the conquest of Canaan, the miracles of Jesus and the apostles, and the like- all of which should build confidence in the Lord as our helper (cf. Ps 105; 124:8; Heb 13:6; see Ex 6:7). On the other hand, those without God are without real hope (Eph 2:12; 1 Thes 4:13).
(2) The full revelation of the new covenant in Jesus Christ provides even more reason for a confident hope in God.
For believers, the Son of God came to destroy the work of the devil (1 Jn 3:8), the “god of this world” (2 Cor 4:4; cf. Gal 1:4; Heb 2:14; see 1 John 5:19). By driving out demons during His earthly ministry, Jesus demonstrated His power over Satan. Moreover, by His death and resurrection He shattered the power of Satan’s realm (cf. John 12:31) and exhibited the power of God’s kingdom. Thus Peter exclaims regarding our hope: “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” (1 Pet 1:3). Jesus is therefore called our hope (Col 1:27; 1 Tim 1:1); we must set our hope on Him through the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom 15:12-13; cf. 1 Pet 1:13; see Ex 17:11).
God’s Word is the third basis of hope. God revealed His Word through prophets and apostles of old, whom He inspired by the Holy Spirit to write without error (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:19-21). Since His eternal word stands firm in the heavens (Ps 119:89), we must place our hope in that word (Ps 119:49, 74,81, 114,147; 130:5; cf. Acts 26:6; Rom 15:4). In fact, everything we know about God and Jesus Christ is revealed in the infallible Scriptures.
Content of the Believer’s Hope. The believer’s ultimate hope and trust must not be in other human beings (Ps 33:16-17; 147:10-11) or in material possessions or money (Ps 20:7; Mat 6:19-21; Luke 12:13-21; 1 Tim 6:17). Rather, our hope must be in God, in His Son Jesus and in His word. What does this hope involve?
(1) We have hope based on God’s love and God’s grace in the midst of the sufferings we undergo in our present lives (Ps 33:18-19; 42:1-5; 71:1-5, 13-14; Jer 17:17-18).
(2) We have hope that the time will come when our sufferings on earth will be finally done away with, when the subjection of the earth to corruption will end, and when the redemption (resurrection) of our bodies will occur (Rom 8:18-25; cf. Ps 16:9-10; 2 Pet 3:12; see Acts 24:15).
(3) We have the hope of the consummation of our salvation (1 Thes 5:8). (4) We have the hope of an eternal house in the new heaven (2 Cor 5:1-5; 2 Pet 3:13; see John 14:2), in that city whose builder and maker is God (Heb 11:10).
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