Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

05/03/2017

Randall Caselman

 

The Good Life Of Hope

 

  Biblical hope is a trustful anticipation; an expectation based upon our faith in God and His promises. For the Christian, hope is not just a blind, baseless longing, but a faith in the One we trust with all of life. In fact, Paul refers to Jehovah as a God of hope: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15.13). Indeed, the real peace and joy of Christian living is knowing that His will, His Word, His promises, are the basis for our hope for today and for our eternal tomorrow.

 

  Hope is what keeps us going. Without hope life is reduced to simple existence. Jesus is our hope. He said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10.10). Jesus is saying, I came that you might have hope. The abundant life, the good life, life above the common, life at its best — is life lived with the hope He offers daily.

 

  Hope for our past. Our hope for the past is in forgiveness. With God’s forgiveness our past is just that, the past. We have no guilt to fret over. No guilt to nag us. No guilt to indict us. God’s forgiveness is as if it never happened. “If we confess, acknowledge, our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1.9). Paul said, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal…”(Philippians 3.13-14). A life without the past is a life of freedom! “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free… When the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8.32 & 35). Indeed!!

 

  Hope for our present. I believe our present hope is found in our purpose. Why are we here? Why are we here and not in heaven? Why didn’t God just beam us up into heaven from our baptism? Paul gives us the answer in Ephesians 2.10: We are here to do good works, works that God prepared, in advance for us to do. We are here to worship and serve God by becoming a living sacrifice, an instrument of righteousness, which is our reasonable act of worship. We do this in response to God’s grace and mercy... (Romans 12.1-2).

 

  Life is a daily adventure when we awake each morning with the decision that today we will be God’s instrument of righteousness…That we will walk through the door of any good work that He providentially places before us. We don’t have to be a preacher, prophet, priest, pope or rabbi to do this. Any man, woman or child can give themselves as a daily living sacrifice. Live the adventure! Live the good life! Give yourself to God’s purpose. Be eager to do the good He has planned, ordained, for us to do.

 

  Hope for the future. Our future hope is in the resurrection, life after life. This is not all there is to life and living. Jesus said: “If you believe in Me you will live, even when you die" (John 11.25-26). The resurrection changes everything! In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye; mortality will put on immortality, the perishable will become imperishable, and death will be swallowed up in victory…and we will live forever with the Lord (1 Corinthians 15.51-54 & 1Thessalonians 4.17-18). It was John who said: “I write these things to you …So that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5.13). What a joy to know that we can know. There is no good life, abundant life, living with our fingers crossed. Amen?

 

  So, regardless of the situations or circumstances in which we find ourselves, no matter how rough the road, how dark the moment, how long the day, how lonely the night — remember, we are a people of hope.  Hope should change the way we live because: “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, neither has it entered into the imagination of man what great things God has prepared for those who love Him… I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (1Corinthians 2.9 & Jeremiah 29:11)

 

—RANDALL CASELMAN