BIBLE FINGERPOST No. 7
PERHAPS you would have difficulty in expressing clearly any hope you may have concerning the future. You do not often think about it or talk about it to your friends. Yet definite information concerning the future can be obtained in the pages of the Bible.
You may think that it does not matter whether you know about the Bible hope or not, so long as you try to follow what are the generally accepted rules of a good life. If so, you are making a grave mistake. The hope set before us in the Bible concerning a future good provided by God has been made known for men to accept with earnestness and sincerity. God cannot be pleased with a light-hearted indifference about what He has promised; neither will He bestow His gift of a future life where men are not interested in His purpose.
Consider carefully the following facts:
1. Salvation depends upon our acceptance and permanent holding of the hope preached by the apostles.
"We are saved by hope -- in the original "the hope" (Rom. 8:24). "Whose house are we if we hold fast the confidence and rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end" (Heb. 3:6). "If ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel" (Col. 1:23). "The gospel ... is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Rom. I :16).
2. There is only one hope shown in apostolic teaching, and not several various or conflicting hopes.
"Ye are called in one hope of your calling" (Eph. 4:4). "The hope of the gospel" (Col. 1:23). "Looking for that blessed hope" (Titus 2:13). "Whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel" (Col. 1:5). "If any man preach any other gospel, let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:8).
3. This one hope is the hope of Israel, or the hope established in the Jewish nation, ages before Christ appeared, by the Promises made to the fathers of that nation.
"For the hope of Israel, I (Paul) am bound with this chain" (Acts 28:20). "And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: unto which promise our twelve tribes instantly serving God day and night hope to come: for which hope's sake, King Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews" (Acts 26:6). Jesus Christ came "to confirm the promises made unto the fathers" (Rom. 15:8). "To whom (the Jews) pertaineth ... the promises" (Rom. 9:4). "Salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22).
4. It Presents for faith, the Prospect of certain good things to come, to be hoped for on the strength of the promise of God, whom we honour by believing His word.
"Faith is the substance of things hoped for" (Heb. 11:1). "Hope to the end for the grace (or favour) that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:13). "We have here no continuing city, but we seek one to come" (Heb. 13:14). "Strong in faith, giving glory to God; being fully persuaded that what he had promised, he was able also to perform" (Rom. 4:21).
5. It includes the hope of eternal life, and inheritance of the Kingdom of God.
"In hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the world began" (Titus 1:2). "This is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life" (1 John 2:25). "Heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him" (Jas. 2:5). "So an entrance shall be ministered to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour" (2 Peter 1:11). "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom" (Matt. 25:34).
6. Without a belief in it -- a hearty and joyful belief -- we cannot be saved.
"Without faith (which is the substance of things hoped for -- see verse 1) it is impossible to please God" (Heb. 11:6). "He that believeth not shall be condemned" (Mark 16:16). "He that hath this hope purifieth himself" (1 John 3:3). We must "hold fast the confidence and rejoicing of the hope" (Heb. 3:6). "We are saved by hope" (Rom. 8:24).
No better security can be found for future good than the assurances God has given in His Word. It is reasonable that men should believe His promises, sincerely, enthusiastically, joyfully, to be well-pleasing to Him. We may share in glorious benefits to be brought by Jesus Christ at his return -- but not if we are ignorant of them. Follow not the crowd in its indifference, but make yourselves acquainted with the Bible's message. Other hopes are without foundation, but the hope of the Bible will be certainly realized by those who in faith and patience look for it.