Posts Tagged ‘Hope’

The hope of a future life maintains itself, and dares to exult and glory, because the foundations on which we stand rest on the glory of God. For, according to the Apostle, though the faithful are now wanderers and pilgrims on earth, yet their confidence raises them so far above the heavens as to make them cherish in their bossoms, with calmness and tranquillity, the hope of their future inheritance.”

– John Calvin

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Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

-Hebrews 13:16

After hearing of our great hope, of the “kingdom that cannot be shaken” –Heb 12:28, and the “city that is to come” -Heb 13:14, we are exhorted to “not neglect to do¬† good and share what [we] have.” We are exhorted to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, and encouraged to do so not by our own power to be good and obedient but by God’s promise to us. “I will never leave you or forsake you” -Heb 13:5. Being assured of God’s unfailing love we may say with confidence, in the midst of trials, lackings, and even the sinful desires of our selfish hearts, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

Is the Lord our Helper? Is He the one who sovereignly rules? Are not all riches His? Is our hope here in this world where we have no lasting city, or is it in the city that is to come?

Oh Lord, You have blessed us so greatly. May we see your blessing in making us your children by adoption. All that we have spiritually and physically is from you and for your glory so let us deny ourselves and serve one another for Your great name’s sake.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:1-2

“Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.” – 1 Peter 2:11-12

Just as we always find in Scripture, we have a command empowered by gospel truths. The command is to “abstain from fleshly lusts…having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles”. The first thing we need to do is to find out what these fleshly lusts are that war against us and desire to overthrow our faith? Well they could be a number of different things. If we look at Galatians 5:19-21 we find a long list of “works of the flesh” and these are some of the things that wage war upon ourselves. In that list we find sins of jealousy, selfish ambition, envy, hatred, outbursts of wrath, idolatry, adultery, drunkenness, and we could probably add a number of other fleshly lusts… Love of money, love of possessions, laziness, etc… We are to abandon such things and live in holiness.

So how do we fight against these lusts? I believe the answer is in knowing who we are in Christ; in reflecting upon the gospel truths. Here, Peter addresses these believers, by saying “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims…” He reminds them of their identity as Christs redeemed people. Beloved, “[you]who once were not a people… are now the people of God,[you] who had not obtained mercy… now have obtained mercy…” (verses 10) You are sojourners, you are pilgrims, you don’t belong to this world, you are citizens of Heaven, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. Your hope is not in this world. Not in the things of it, nor the justice (or lack of) that it offers. O Christian, Do you see how blessed you are?

Seeing who you are and the hope that awaits you, honor God in your conduct, that they might see your good works and glorify God.

I leave you with a few verses from earlier in Peter’s epistle.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” – 1 Peter 1:3-5

J. C. Hahne