Expectations & Hopes Meditations: 36. All about God
1 Pet 1:20,21 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
Time to draw a close: Because the word hope come up so many times in the New Testament, we could keep on and on with this subject, meditating on the individual verses, but instead we will draw this series to a close with the two verses above that really sum it all up for us We have considered this subject of expectation through individuals in the Old Testament and then as it pertains to Jesus. As we have just said, these two verses sum up or summarise the origins, at least, of our hope, and they are in Jesus.
The Gospel Encapsulated: The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a recent fiction of the last two thousand years, but has its origins, we are told over half a dozen times in the New Testament, right back before the creation of the world. It was then that the Godhead, with the recognition that giving mankind free will would mean that we brought Sin into the world, decided that the Son of God would step into history at a given point of time to act as one who would carry our sins and thus our guilt in his death on a cross. This Peter says, “was revealed in these last times.” Through what happened to Jesus, we are focused on God. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection our attention has been grabbed and we focus it back on God.
It’s all about God: We realise that it had to be a work of God, as Peter himself preached, “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead.” (Acts 2:22-24) Four is said to be the number of divine government and four times there he spoke about God’s involvement in all that had happened. Twice it was God providing the miracles Jesus did, once it was all about God’s set plan and purpose and once, it was God who raised Jesus from the dead.
Faith & Hope: The whole of the events involving and surrounding the coming of Jesus were about God bringing about the possibility of you and me being able to have a genuine relationship with almighty God, and that immediately puts before us the thoughts about our future, our future here on the earth and our future after death. How we live out today is all about faith, because it is about how we respond to His word in the way we live now, but the fact that we are constantly looking forward to tomorrow means we are living in hope, with the expectations His word generates in our hearts and minds.
Did you see that? From our vantage point, how we respond now is about faith, but how we view tomorrow is about hope. Faith is doing now; hope is about expectations for tomorrow. When we arrive at ‘tomorrow’, whenever that is, we will be living out that day in faith, but as we continue to regard the future, we do it with hope, this confident expectation of what God will do or how He will respond in respect of us.
A Question: But, someone might ask, if hope is constantly about the future, does it really matter? If, when we get to ‘tomorrow’ we are acting in faith, isn’t that the key thing? Well, in one sense, yes, but as we’ve seen in past studies, the fact that we have this hope acts almost as a stabilizing foundation for our lives today. Without it, life and the ongoing years is really an exercise with a big question mark over it. The fact that we can say tomorrow the Lord will be with us to bless us and after death we will continue to be with Him, means that we can live today with purpose – not only to capture the blessings of today, but to ensure we keep going to capture the blessings of eternity that God has promised us.
To Summarise: In this sense, ‘hope’ is a very real factor in our lives. It encourages us in today and energizes and motivates us towards tomorrow. Remember, the origins of our hope lie in the fact that we have been, as we said in the previous meditation, justified, adopted and empowered (and all that by the work of Jesus) and the content of our hope for tomorrow is that our understanding and experience of these three things will deepen and enlarge and will continue to carry us through the years until we pass off this present existence and are carried into eternity where it will just get better and better.
I think I will draw it to a close here. We will have a final recap tomorrow, but in the meantime, I hope that these studies will have put some content to your understanding and added some strength to the foundations of your faith. Amen.