Monday, December 3, 2007
"Why is Hope so Important?"
Lam 3:25 (NIV) The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.
C.S. Lewis on Hope, Desire and Longing
"Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise.
"We do not want to merely "see" beauty--though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words--to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.
"At present we are on the outside... the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the pleasures we see. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. Someday, God willing, we shall get "in"... We will put on glory... that greater glory of which Nature is only the first sketch.
"The Christian says, 'Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists.' A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.
"If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only... to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, echo, or mirage.
"I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to the other country and to help others do the same."
Hope: What We Are Promised By God But Don't Yet Have
Rom 8:24-25 (NIV) For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
1 Tim 4:10 (LB) We work hard and suffer much in order that people will believe... for our hope is in the living God who died for all, and particularly for those who have accepted his salvation.
The Hope of Being a"Son", God's "Family" and "Household", and "Heirs"
Gal 3:26-29 (Phi) For now that you have faith in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God. All of you who were baptized "into" Christ have put on the family likeness of Christ. Gone is the distinction between Jew and Greek, slave and free man, male and female--you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, you are true heirs of his promise.
1 Jn 5:1 (Phi) Everyone who really believes that Jesus is the Christ is himself one of God's family...
Rom 8:28-31 (Phi) Moreover we know that to those who love God, who are called according to his plan, everything that happens fits into a pattern for good. For God, in his foreknowledge, chose them to bear the family likeness of his Son, that he might be the eldest of a family of many brothers. He chose them long ago; when the time came he called them, he made them righteous in his sight and then lifted them to the splendor of life as his own sons. In face of all this, what is there left to say? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Eph 2:19-22 (Phi) So you are no longer outsiders or aliens, but fellow-citizens with every other Christian--you belong now to the household of God. Firmly beneath you is the foundation, God's messengers and prophets, the corner-stone being Christ Jesus himself. In him each separate piece of the building, properly fitting into its neighbor, grows together into a temple consecrated to the Lord. You are all part of this building in which God himself lives by his Spirit.
Heb 3:6 (TEB) Christ is faithful as the Son in charge of God's House. We are his house, if we keep our courage and our confidence in what we hope for.
Hope In The Presence Of The Holy Spirit Within Us
Gal 4:6 (TEB) To show that you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who cries, "Father my Father."
Rom 8:14-17 (Phi) All who follow the leading of God's Spirit are God's own sons. Nor are you meant to relapse into the old slavish attitude of fear--you have been adopted into the very family circle of God and you can say with a full heart, "Father, my Father". The Spirit himself endorses our inward conviction that we really are the children of God. Think what that means. If we are his children then we are God's heirs, and all that Christ inherits will belong to all of us as well! Yes, if we share in his sufferings we shall certainly share in his glory.
Hope In God's Discipline
Heb 12:5-8 (Jer) And have you forgotten that encouraging text in which you are addressed as sons: "My son, when the Lord corrects you, do not treat it lightly; but do not get discouraged when he reprimands you. For the Lord trains the ones that he loves and he punishes all those that he acknowledges as his sons." Suffering is part of your training. God is treating you as his sons. Has there ever been a son whose father did not train him? If you were not getting this training, as all of you are, then you would not be sons but bastards.
Heb 12:9-13 (Jer) Besides, we have all had our human fathers who punished us, and we respected them for it; we ought to be even more willing to submit to our spiritual Father, to be given life. Our human fathers were thinking of this short life when they punished us, and could only do what they thought best; but he does it all for our own good, so that we may share his holiness. Of course, any punishment is most painful at the time, and far from pleasant; but later, in those on whom it has been used, it bears fruit in peace and goodness. So hold up your limp arms and steady your trembling knees and smooth out the path you tread; then the injured limb will not be wrenched, it will grow strong again.
Satan's attack on hope has been to deceive us into thinking that God will "endorse" our own dreams, passions, and desires if we hold onto them dearly and have enough "faith". Scripture, however, commands us to deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Christ in dying to self. We are to hope in His will, His word, His life, and not our own. Self-indulgent "hope" is "on shifting sand" and is really no hope at all--but mere delusion, rebellion, and disobedience.
Our only real hope is Christ, and Him crucified. Everything in the universe will soon melt away, including all of our vain and false "hopes". Everything we think so important now--gone! All of our hopes will then be shown for what they were. We will then be face to face with Him who bought us with such a great price and commanded us to follow. God will welcome us home as sons, or treat us as objects of wrath. Is this our greatest hope, or our worst nightmare?
Hope In Future Glory (or Splendor), Even If We Must Suffer Now!
1 Pet 4:13-14 (Jer) If you can have some share in the sufferings of Christ, be glad, because you will enjoy a much greater gladness when his glory is revealed. It is a blessing for you when they insult you for bearing the name of Christ, because it means that you have the Spirit of glory, the Spirit of God resting on you.
Dan 12:1-3 (NIV) ...There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people--everyone whose name is found written in the book--will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.
Gal 5:5 (NEB) For to us, our hope of attaining that righteousness which we eagerly await is the work of the Spirit through faith.
Rom 5:1-5 (TEB) Now that we have been put right with God through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. He has brought us, by faith, into this experience of God's grace, in which we now live. We rejoice, then, in the hope we have of sharing God's glory! And we also rejoice in troubles, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance brings God's approval, and his approval creates hope. This hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God's gift to us.
Rom 8:18-21 (Phi) In my opinion whatever we may have to go through now is less than nothing compared with the magnificent future God has in store for us. The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own. The world of creation cannot as yet see reality, not because it chooses to be blind, but because in God's purpose it has been so limited--yet it has been given hope. And the hope is that in the end the whole of created life will be rescued from the tyranny of change and decay, and have its share in that magnificent liberty which can only belong to the children of God!
1 Pet 3:15 (Phi) ...Be ready at any time to give a quiet and reverent answer to any man who wants a reason for the hope that you have within you.
We Should Not Give Up, But Persevere and Hope In God
Rom 15:4 (Jer) And indeed everything that was written long ago in the scriptures was meant to teach us something about hope; from the examples scripture gives of how people who did not give up were helped by God.
Gal 6:9 (NIV) Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Rom 12:12 (TEB) Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times.
2 Thes 2:16-17 (Phi) May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father (who has loved us and given us un-ending encouragement and unfailing hope by his grace) inspire you with courage and confidence in every good thing you say or do.
The Hope Of Radiating His Glory
2 Cor 3:10-13,18 (Phi) And while it is true that the former glory has been eclipsed by the latter, we do well to remember that it is eclipsed because the present and permanent is so much more glorious than the old and transient. With this hope in our hearts we are quite frank and open in our ministry. We are not like Moses, who veiled his face... But all of us who are Christians have no veils on our faces, but reflect like mirrors the glory of the Lord. We are transformed in ever-increasing splendor into his own image, and this is the work of the Lord who is the Spirit.
Col 1:27 (Phi) They are those to whom God has planned to give a vision of the wonder and splendor of this secret plan for the nations. And the secret is simply this: Christ IN YOU! Yes, Christ IN YOU bringing with him the hope of all the glorious things to come.
Rom 15:13 (Phi) May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in your faith, that by the power of the Holy Spirit, your whole life and outlook may be radiant with hope.
Hope In The End Of The Age
Titus 2:13 (NIV) while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and savior, Jesus Christ.
Col 3:4 (Jer) But when Christ is revealed--and he is your life--you too will be revealed in all your glory with him.
1 Jn 3:1-3 (Phi) Consider the incredible love that the Father has shown us in allowing us to be called "children of God"--and that is not just what we are called, but what we ARE... This explains why the world will no more recognize us than it recognized Christ... Here and now, my dear friends, we ARE God's children. We don't know what we shall become in the future. We only know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is! Everyone who has at heart a hope like that keeps himself pure, as Christ is pure.
Hope In The Power That Resurrected Christ
Eph 1:18-20 (Phi) And this is my prayer... that you may receive that inner illumination of the spirit which will make you realize how great is the hope to which he is calling you--the magnificence and splendor of the inheritance promised to Christians--and how tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God. That power is the same divine energy which was demonstrated in Christ when he raised him from the dead...
1 Pet 1:3-4 (Phi) Thank God... that in his great mercy we have been born again into a life full of hope, through Christ's rising from the dead! You can now hope for a perfect inheritance beyond the power of change and decay, reserved in Heaven for you.
Job 13:15 (NIV) Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him...
Phil 3:10,13-14 (Jer) All I want is to know Christ and the power of his resurrection... All I can say is that I forget the past and I strain ahead for what is still to come; I am racing for the finish, for the prize to which God calls us upward to receive in Christ Jesus.
Hope In The Glory Of Heaven
Heb 6:18-19 (Phi) That by ...God, who cannot lie, we who are refugees from this dying world might have a powerful source of strength, and might grasp the hope that he holds out to us. This hope we hold as an utterly reliable anchor for our souls...
Rom 8:22-23 (Phi) It is plain to anyone with eyes to see that at the present time all created life groans in a sort of universal travail. And it is plain, too, that we who have a foretaste of the Spirit are in a state of painful tension, while we wait for that redemption of our bodies which will mean that we have realized our full sonship in him.
2 Cor 5:4-5 (Phi) ...We want our transitory life to be absorbed into the life that is eternal. Now the power that has planned this experience for us is God, and he has given us the Spirit as a guarantee of its truth. This makes us confident, whatever happens.
2 Cor 4:16-18 (Phi) This is the reason why we never lose heart. The outward man does indeed suffer wear and tear, but every day the inward man receives fresh strength. These little troubles (which are really so transitory) are winning for us a permanent, glorious and solid reward out of all proportion to our pain. For we are looking all the time not at the visible things but at the invisible. The visible things are transitory: it is the invisible things that are really permanent.
Col 1:5 (Phi) We know that you are showing these qualities because you have grasped the hope reserved for you in Heaven--that hope which first became yours when you heard the message of truth.
Heb 11:1 (NIV) Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
1 Pet 1:8 (Phi) At present you trust him without being able to see him, and even now he brings you a joy that words cannot express and which has in it a hint of the glories of Heaven.
C.S. Lewis on The Weight Of Glory
"It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor. The load, or weight, of burden of my neighbor's glory should be laid on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken.
"It is a serious thing... to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you could see it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.
"There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. It is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit--immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.
"All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or the other of these destinations."