A Living Hope
Last week, I wrote on the New Heaven and the New Earth. Having a glimpse of the new heaven and the new earth is all about hope.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,and God himself will be with them as their God and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (the old order of things)
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And 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 from the spring of the water of life without payment.The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. Revelation 21:1-7
Notice the new Jerusalem is coming down out of heaven from God. Heaven comes down and transforms the earth. We will have new bodies. Our bodies will be redeemed, we will not be disembodied spirits floating around in heaven and earth. Jesus ate fish after he was resurrected. He was not a ghost.
A Living Hope vs Mental Assent
The difference in mental assent vs true belief is where the rubber hits the road. You can say you believe something but only when that belief is challenged through suffering do you know if you are giving mental assent or true belief.
In the Bible we see Jesus called the firstfruits. The term firstfruits is an agricultural term that refers to the first fruit coming in from the harvest of the crops. When Jesus was raised from the dead, he was the firstfruit (installment) of things to come. There are many references to firstfruits in the bible.
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 1 Corinthians 15:20-24
In the book of Revelation, the Apostle John was writing to Christians living at the time who were suffering for their faith in a resurrected Jesus. They were suffering more than most of us will ever experience. John gave them HOPE by his words so they could hold hope in the midst of their suffering. When the lions were tearing them apart, when they were beheaded, they accepted their suffering and died with peace. Because of John’s message to them of a future hope, the early Christian’s death sowed the seed of Christianity to spread far and wide.
Hope in the future
Ever since Jamie’s death, many people have said to my family and I in different ways, “your faith…your example…are amazing, I don’t know how are you doing it?”
Christian friends said our faith in the midst of suffering was encouraging them in their own faith journey.
We got through those days, and continue to get through those days, because we have a living hope. A hope that allows us to look squarely in the face of our loss on earth, knowing that we will see them again, we will spend eternity together on the new earth.
Hope is the future. The future is bright.
As a family we now live, completely controlled by our view of the future.
- Do you believe in a new heaven and new earth?
- What is your hope?
- What are you living for?
- Is your life counting?
Perhaps you asking, how do I do this?
First you must believe in the crucifixion of Jesus and all that was accomplished on his death on the cross. Then you must believe in the power of the resurrection of Jesus and what that means for your future. He is the firstfruits of many (us) to come. Life on the present earth is just a foretaste of what is to come when you walk in a relationship with God.
Let’s face it some type of suffering comes to everyone on your journey through life. It could be the loss of your loved one, a divorce, a job failure, alienated from your family…really anything. Yet, we can live a completely transformed life on earth, a foretaste because we know we are destined to see God and our loved ones face to face again someday.
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. I Thessalonians 4:13-14
That is our living hope, and it can be yours today.