Friday, September 3, 2010

Hope Is a Choice defines “hope” as the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best; to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence; to believe or trust. The Christian faith is based on a hope placed in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It is rooted in the One who called Himself the Alpha and the Omega (the beginning and the end), the Chief Shepherd, the Cornerstone, the Deliverer, the King of Kings, and the Almighty God.

Hebrews 11:1 declares that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (italics are mine). This is not the type of hope the world has when they play the lottery and hope to win, or when they make an investment in the stock market and hope their money will grow and not decrease. No, this hope is much surer than that. The hope the Christian has is established upon the Living God.

Psalm 146 tells us, “Do not put your trust in princes, Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; In that very day his plans perish. Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the Lord his God, Who made heaven and earth; The sea, and all that is in them; Who keeps truth forever, Who executes justice for the oppressed, Who gives food to the hungry. The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; The Lord raises those who are bowed down; The Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow.”

For the Christian, our hope is based in a God who created the universe, not in a philosopher or religious leader who has returned to the earth and has no power to help us. Our God promises to defend us, feed us, free us, open our eyes, raise us up, watch over us, and meet us in our loneliness. Who else can make such a claim?

The Scripture states that this life is but a vapor and after death eternity begins. King Solomon, the wisest and wealthiest king to ever live, said in Ecclesiastes, after having indulged himself in all the world had to offer, (e.g. women, wine, money) that all of it was vanity and the sole purpose of man is to “Fear God and keep His commandments.”

Charles G. Finney, a prominent preacher during the Second Great Awakening, perfectly described the type of hope offered by Jesus Christ and how it is attained, “Many seem to have conceived of Christ as their hope only in His outward relation, that is, as an atoning Savior, as a risen and ascended Savior, but also as a factual, historical, concrete statistic. The indispensable necessity of having Christ within them, ruling in their hearts and establishing His government over their whole being, is a condition of salvation of which they have not thought. Christ cannot be truly and savingly our hope, in any degree further than He is received into, and reigns, in our souls. To hope in merely an outward Christ is to hope in vain.”

In other words, our hope is a choice based on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Any other type of hope is only grasping at the wind. This type of saving hope or faith is only for those willing to lay themselves at the foot of cross and present themselves a living sacrifice. (Romans 12:1) It is within the realm of obedience that faith becomes tangible as we see the hand of God operating in our lives – conforming us to the very image of His Son.

Hope is a choice. Won’t you choose the Living hope today?

"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." (I Peter 1:3-5)

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