The Lord Jesus Christ, His People's Hope.
A Bible Reading to Christian Girls.
MANY who are in uncertainty as to their personal salvation, speak of "hoping to be saved." If you ask them if their sins are forgiven, they say, "I hope so." The Word of God never uses the word "hope" in this connection, or of uncertainty as to salvation.
When the personal salvation of all who believe on the Lord Jesus is the subject being dealt with, the language of certainty and assurance is always used. When we believe, "we have redemption" through the blood (Eph. i. 7). "Giving thanks to the Father, who HATH made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints" (Col. i. 12). "Now, ARE we the sons of God" (1 John iii. 2), "We KNOW that we ARE of God" (1 John v. 19), and many more such passages, all speak of the present salvation and acceptance of believers, in the language of certainty. And it is the privilege of all who are Christ's, to know and live in the conscious enjoyment of their salvation, from day to day.
Hope is a word which points us to the future, and to that which awaits the Christian, especially that upon which he will enter at the coming again of the Lord Jesus. We read in 1 Tim. i. 1, of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, "which is OUR HOPE." And again in 1 John iii. 2, 3, "We know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we see Him as He is." And then it adds, "And everyone that hath this hope set on Him purifies himself, even as He is pure" (R.V.). The "hope" of the believer is the coming of the Lord, and the anticipation of being made like Him, fully conformed to His image, our bodies "fashioned like unto His glorious body" (Phil. iii. 21). And that which we now grieve over, and are called to purify ourselves from, shall then be forever removed from us. The present effect of this hope is, that even now he seeks to live as the Lord would have him, and to so walk and act, as to be "found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless" (2 Pet. iii. 14), at His coming.
In Rom. v. 1-3, the believer is said to be justified, and at peace with God, standing in grace and rejoicing "in hope of the glory of God." So perfectly has the work of the Cross put away his sins, justified him, and brought him unto a new standing before God, that instead of fearing coming judgment, as once he did, he looks forward with joy to coming glory. This is "the hope of salvation," which he wears as a "helmet" (1 Thess. v. 8); not salvation from sin and hell—that he already has, but that full and final salvation, which shall be his at the coming of the Lord (Heb. ix. 28; Rom. xiii. 11). This is what is referred to in Rom. viii. 24, "For we are saved by (or in) the hope, but hope that is seen is not hope, for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." There is no date, no fixed time given in the Word, at which the Lord will come. But the period of His absence is said to be only "a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry" (Heb. x. 37). So we are to be always "looking for that blessed hope" (Titus ii. 13), or, as another translation has it, "Prepared to welcome that happy hope," ardently expecting it, "as with outstretched neck," on the tiptoe of expectation, ready to welcome Him, as those who have nothing to lose, but everything to gain by His coming, ever praying in our hearts, "Come, Lord Jesus".
The effect of having this Hope as "a living, bright reality" in us, will be manifest in lives of godly walk, earnest work, and separation from all that is out of keeping with the hope of those who expect they may be called to meet their Lord in heavenly glory at any moment, and thus pass from the present scene, to that heaven in which He waits in patience to welcome His people, to the place prepared for them, so living that they will "not be ashamed before Him at His coming" (1 John ii. 28), but joyfully responding to that "shout" of triumph, which will "in a moment," in "the twinkling of an eye," bring them to the land upon which their hearts have long been set, of which He, their Lord and Lover, is "all the glory."