Summary: The Study Of The Hope Set Before Us
The Study Of The Hope Set Before Us
2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
There are two purposes for this lesson.
• For those of you who are not Christians, it is written to persuade you to become obedient to the faith.
• For those of you who have obeyed, it is written to comfort and strengthen you as you begin to live and grow as a Christian.
Becoming a Christian does not free you from all the difficulties, trials, and sorrows of this life, but it does enable you to live with them, become stronger by them, and eventually to rise above them. One of the ways it does this is by setting before us hope. As it is written, "...we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us… steadfast" (Hebrews 6:18-19). Here hope is compared to an anchor. In the midst of a stormy sea, the shipmen depend on the anchor to prevent the ship from being driven into the rocks along the coast. So also in the storms of life, the Christian finds comfort in the anchor of hope. Paul put it this way, saying, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us…For we were saved in this hope…" (Romans 8:18, 24).
Concerning the things of this life, the Christian has the same kinds of hopes as do other men. The Christian has a natural desire for peace, comfort, happiness, health, and a long life. However, many have had to give up these things in order to become Christians. Paul wrote, "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable" (1 Corinthians 15:19).
The hope of a Christian is the return of Christ. The last time Christ was with His disciples on this earth, it is said: "…while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:9-11).
A Christian must work for the necessities of this life as do others. However, he does not become overly concerned with the material things of this world, because it is written: "...the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up" (2 Peter 3:10).
Though a Christian sorrows at the death of a loved one, at the death of a fellow Christian he sorrows not as others who have no hope. Paul wrote: "...I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
Christians have a natural desire to live and enjoy life, but they do not fear death as the final end. Paul assures the Christians, "And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-- in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" (1 Corinthians 15:49-53).