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Hope: Into Eternity

by Daniel Burton

The movie Rogue One, a prequel to the 1977 film Star Wars, tells the story of a band of heroes seeking to resist evil and ensure those who seek the domination of the galaxy do not thrive.  Throughout the movie, there is a constant of hope.  You see characters, who had given up hope, find it renewed and the struggle of losing and gaining hope is made plain.  For Christians, the idea of hope is one of the three we must cling to dearly (the other two being faith and love cf 1 Corinthians 13).  As we walk through the daily life of following Christ and trusting Him, hope can be one of our greatest tools and strongest allies in the process.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

Romans 5:1-5, NIV

The world around us seems content to do everything in its power to remove all hope of our existence, both in the natural and in the now as well as throughout eternity. It seeks to plunge us into despair.  Yet, our God has given us a new hope.  Evil most assuredly will not and is unable to be victorious.  Those who follow Christ do not have to life a life devoid of hope.  We can stand firm because we know where our eternity comes fromRather, in the fullness of what Christ has done, the Christian stands firm knowing where our eternity lies and depart from the hopeless the world has to offer.

A World Without Hope

With a loss of hope, the very idea of time becomes warped and construed in ways that it should not be.  For the person enduring hardship, struggle or temptation, there is the fear that time will end.  The constant threat that whatever they are facing when left unchecked and give the idea that this will be the end of us.  Our struggle will be our demise and this will be the ultimate cause of our death.  A lack of hope submits to death willingness under the misguided muse that fate already spoken.

Or, what is worse, with no hope, the person may feel that the struggle they are facing will never end.  Instead of ending and causing our demise, a lack of hope extends out unto eternity.  We feel that the pain we are enduring will never end.   For a world without hope, the only conclusion is that we will descend into darkness, never to rise again.  A world without hope is a world without Jesus Christ…

… and by the grace of God, we have hope.

At Just The Right Time

Where a lack of hope would distort time and our perception of our struggles, Christ has come to correct the issue of time.  Previously, where we struggled with the idea that our struggles and our issue of sin would be the end of us, we were not entirely incorrect.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23, NIV).  Previously, we were absolutely deserving of our punishment and condemned to die.  However, by the grace of God through taking our punishment on himself, Jesus paved a way for our punishment to be lifted and placed solely on Him.  We can have hope that our sins will not mark our demise.

We can have hope because Christ has achieved victory.Nor will they last forever.  To be fair, we are promised an eternity but not one marked by the pain of struggle and death.  “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!” (Revelation 21:4-5, NIV)  We are able to endure what feels like a never ending struggle because we know that we have a never joy firmly established in eternity for us.  Christ not only remitted our punishment but secured our home.  We can have hope because Christ has achieved victory.

Talk It Out

Read Romans 5: 1-21

  1. What is the relationship between suffering and hope?  How do our times of suffering display the hope we have been given?
  2. God’s justifies by the sinner by dying for our sins. What hope is there in our sinful nature?  What hope is there in our eternal life?
  3. What does it mean to have hope?
  4. Where you have seen the world try and take the hope that God has to offer?  How does Christ shine through these moments and give us hope?
  5. Where in your life are you looking for hope?  What can you do to submit those areas to the God?

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