That We May Have Hope
“For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures” (Rom. 15:4).
It has never been easy to be a Christian, to live the Christian life. You may ask, “How so?” Well, we understand Satan has always been opposed to God and His Son, and thus those committed to living faithfully in submission to His will. This is seen in how Jesus reminded His disciples they would face tribulation (John 16:33). Not only is this done through temptations, but through people, not only through those one may count as friends, but also through family, and even society in general, which we see increasing both here and abroad. Paul pointed this out to Timothy when he wrote him that all who desire to live godly in Christ would face persecution (2 Tim. 3:12).
We are not the first, of course, to face opposition for the sake of the will of God. One of the values of the Old Testament is the encouragement it offers in how those who have gone before us never gave up on their faith, never let go of dedicated living, and never forgot God’s promises for them. Consider the faith of God’s prophets. Being a prophet of God was not a glamorous lifestyle by any means. And yet their lives illustrate the principle of Scripture, “And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). For all the suffering they endured, the hardships they faced, even with the threat of death for just speaking God’s word, they counted themselves blessed to share in revealing the will of God and being His servants. They knew God had something better waiting for them beyond today, but not just for them only. “And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect” (Heb. 11:39-40).
What sort of lives should we live, then, for God? Now is not the time for us to be complacent about our place in His kingdom! If ever there is a time for us to stand firm for God’s word, in living in His will, in trusting in His promises being true, it is now. Only a sure confidence in these eternal principles will equip us for the work we have to do. We must sound a clear message about the salvation God offers through His Son, and what God expects of us to be recipients of His grace and mercy. We must show a distinct lifestyle of consistency in God’s word if others are to see God at work in us, to be attracted to life in Him. We must worship from pure motives, according to God’s revealed truth, if God is to be glorified and our fellowship to strengthen and encourage us.
He who so faithfully provided for them will do so for us. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us” (Rom. 8:31-34). Don’t get discouraged by all the negativity, the trials, the concerns that surrounds us. Our Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). We are more than conquerors over the world of sin through Christ who loves us (Rom. 8:37-39). “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” ( 2 Cor. 4:17-18).
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”