Christian hope reorients our focus. We focus not on who we were but who we are in Christ. We focus not on trying to merit God’s favor but rest in his grace, desiring to please him in love. We focus not on temporal circumstances or our momentary afflictions but on God’s glory revealed through us as we are conformed more and more to the image of his Son. We focus not on what the world loves but on God’s love poured into our hearts. And so, we do not fear tomorrow but have hope for today.
But the faith that God gave Abraham did not falter, as it never will, but grew: “[Abraham] did not waver in unbelief about the promise of God but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God. He was fully convinced that what God promised he was also able to do” (Rom. 4:20-21 NET). Therefore, “In hope [Abraham] believed against hope.” Though his circumstances shouted hopelessness, Abraham had hope, not because he looked to himself and his faithfulness but because he looked to the One who promised.
The crowds are no different today. The worldly-minded either wants its best life here and now or a secret rapture to get out as fast as possible. Jesus delivers neither, but offers Himself the ransom for many, high and lifted for our redemption to His glory.
The point in this: There are some things fulfilled in Scripture to which we look, believe, and find hope. There are other things promised but not yet fulfilled to which we also look, believe, and find hope.
The result is “the bond of peace” or “the bond which consists of peace,” (O’Brien, 280), meaning unity in the body is evidenced in peace. Such peace is telling of the peace that every Christian enjoys with God the Father through God the Son by God the Holy Spirit. Just as there is unity in God, so there should be unity in his body, as it is manifested in the local church.
As God the Father has ordained, God the Son has accomplished, and God the Spirit gives us life and sanctifies us, giving us joy and revealing God’s glory to the world through his church. We enjoy a blessed union to the glory of God, and it is a union we enjoy through the life he gives.
When Christians realize that their citizenship is in heaven, they begin acting as responsible citizens of earth. They invest wisely in relationships because they know they’re eternal.
Do not be deceived: We have but one Savior. He resides in us through the presence of his Spirit and guides us by his ordinary means of Word, sacrament and prayer. And when he returns, there will be no question about it. The question is: What is your hope? The question is: Where is your rest? The question is: Who will you follow?
A disciple is one who by God’s grace savingly confesses Christ, rejoices in assembling together as a church, may be tempted but hopefully never assists Satan, to the glory of Christ denies self, and awaits his imminent return and eternal glory.
So, we come not to Christ with our birthrights, upbringings, pedigrees; we bring not our achievements, our deeds, our badges of merit. No, we come like dogs to the table, needy yet hopeful and find that the Master of the house is our heavenly Father.