The world has seen the rise in persecution against Christians. In fact, by recent studies, Christians are among the top groups actively persecuted for their faith. This is largely due to groups such as ISIS and the decay of truth as a construct. For many, this is beginning to take a toll on the morale and serves as a source of frustration for many who hold to the faith. It seems many are beginning to express their frustration at the world, at the state of society, and at the almost apathetic response to the attack on beliefs. All these things are symptomatic of the death of hope for the Christian and a fear that pain will never cease. Yet, to do so misses the promise of the Gospel.
“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.”
Revelation 21:1-6 NIV
The effects of man’s sins have left the world irreparably damaged and the punishment of permitting sin was a death sentence. Yet, loss of life, even if it is deserved, God finds to be unacceptable. In the fullness of His grace and mercy, God made a way for sinners to return home. That would have been enough for us, but God continued. God, after paving a way, created a home. The new heaven and the new earth would be home for those who follow Christ. Whatever pain we feel, whatever struggles we endure, are temporary. Our true hope rests in the unchanging and everlasting God who has secured our eternity. We can hold our heads high and focus our gaze on the promise and hope of our everlasting.
The Hope of Eternity
We have the promise of an eternal and everlasting relationship with God through our faith in Jesus Christ. With the coming of the New Heaven and the New Earth, God is giving us our perfect home that will never fade from eternity. The promise we have is the security of eternity and the hope that whatever pain we feel is temporal. God is making all things new. He alone is bringing fullness and life beyond our understanding and imagination. He is bringing restoration to a broken creation.
We can know that the world will not conquer us and the pain and anguish we may feel will not be our demise. We are promised the hope of eternity by the steadfast hand of God Almighty. Nothing is able to wrestle it out from His strength. Through the sacrificial act of Christ on the cross, our God has achieved victory over sin, suffering, defeat, and death. For all the trials, persecutions, and discrimination we face, our secured eternity shows that our hope resides with God who has gone before us and defeated our opposition on our behalf. The enemy has already been defeated and Christ reigns forever.
Hold Your Head High in Hope
Until we arrive in our eternal home, we are still here and must walk in the hope we have been given. There will be times when we feel frustrated at the state of the world. We will feel persecuted, ostracized, and discriminated again. We will be right as well. The blessings of God are eternal, but during this life, we are promised hardships and trials on account of following God and obeying His word. We will be persecuted for our faith and should not be surprised at something God has so clearly said would happen. As we walk through these times, walk in the fullness of the eternal hope that has been secured on your behalf.
So, be cautious of your facebook posts, the words you say, and the way you present the hope that you have. Let them not be spewing hate, anger, and outrage. Afterall, Christ told us we would endure these hardships. Use every post, every word, every action, and every thought to proclaim the Gospel of faith, hope, and love to the world around you which desperately needs this Gospel. Knowing this world cannot defeat the God we serve, we can stand firm knowing that our reward is coming. Therefore, hold your head high. Let your thoughts, actions, and deeds in the midst of persecution display the victory that Christ has achieved over all creation.
Talk It Out
Read Revelation 21:1-8, NIV
- What promises does God give for those who are following Him? How does this promise fuel our hope?
- Why does Revelation 21:4 say there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain? What is the old order? What is the new order?
- Where you do see the Kingdom of God at play in this passage? What is God seeking to accomplish through the New Heaven and New Earth?
- How can we walk through difficult times knowing that our hope is in Jesus Christ? In what way does our outlook on eternity affect how we live out our temporal?
- Why do we so quickly move to outrage and anger when faced with trials, pain, and anguish because of our faith?