Christian Hope is that which calls us into the future. It is the promise of God's perfection, which we see revealed in His Son, Jesus Christ. Faith is grounded in the past where we have tried God and found Him to be true. Love brings Faith and Hope together in the present, where we know God. Love enables us to receive a foretaste of the Hope which God is unfolding before us as we move toward Him.
Hope is not wishful thinking. It is the reality of God's perfect will for us in Christ. It is not a projection of what we wish heaven to be. It is a New Creation in the fullness of God's love, into which we are already entering as love brings Hope into the present.
As we walk in faith, trusting God to sustain us in our quest for His will, we begin to find the Hope. While we do not yet see the nature the Kingdom and its relationships in detail, we can know that we are becoming all that Abba intended us to be when He called us each by name.
OUR KNOWLEDGE OF HOPE
Our knowledge of our Hope is limited to our knowledge of the One who has created us to live with Him in His Kingdom of Heaven. The nature of life in the Kingdom is defined by the King. It is not the geography, but the Ruler to whom we look, if we are to determine what our Hope truly is. To the extent that we know Him, and are drawn to His love, we are drawn to the Hope that we await in Faith, upheld by His Love.
We can know that we are intended to be more than just tolerated in the Kingdom. We are to be the children of the King as we are indwelt by the Only begotten Son of the King. We can enter that relationship now to determine what that is to be like when it comes to fulfillment in the Kingdom.
As we walk by Faith we are drawn into Hope, and Love is the door opener. The Hope will be marked by that same Love. It is not human love, which is always conditional. It is Divine Love that we find incarnate in Jesus Christ. It is unconditional in nature, given to all who will receive it without demanding a return. It is unmerited love which enfolds, and when it is received, it transforms us into the image and likeness of Jesus who dwells within us. That is why Paul writes to Colossian Christians that it is the "Christ in you, the Hope of glory."
It is in our becoming the incarnate presence of Jesus Christ that we enter into our Hope. It is as we enter that relationship now that we can receive and know that Hope as God unfolds His will for us.
HOW DO WE APPROPRIATE CHRISTIAN HOPE?
We enter our Hope as we elect to walk with Jesus, and allow Jesus to walk in us. It demands a decision. It is not simply a decision that we are going to cling to God as some sort of fire insurance. It is a decision to Seek First the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness. It is a decision to give up the kingdom of self for the Kingdom of God. It is a matter of turning over the control of our lives to the One who knows who we are and why He created us.
It requires a life of prayer that will enable us to come to know God as He has revealed Himself. It demands that we release the images in which we have held God, and we look to the revelation that He has given us in Christ. It means that we "Try God." We must get beyond the realm of discussion, and enter the realm of experience.
We must seek His will, trust His love, and step out in Faith that God is there. We must have enough faith to step over into God's faithfulness. There we encounter the One who has invited us to become His children by adoption and grace.
It is in this walk that we can come to know the One in Whom we Hope. As we find His faithfulness, our faith grows, that we might be free to continue to walk with a greater trust in His Love. We can see the changes that He is already making in our lives as He prepares us for that Hope. We find that it is not a geographical location that we are seeking, but the Lord who makes every location an expression of His Kingdom.
We find that Christian Hope is present now, but is not seen except in part. We press on toward that goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. We grow into Christian Hope, as Christ Jesus grows up into us.
Hope, as we enter into it, calls us forward into a new and greater expression of the love which God has for us. Of those who have died and returned to live in the body, none who have met Jesus Christ and seen and tasted Christian Hope have wanted to return to this realm. It is the best that we can see of God now after the veil has been removed and the Love of God made available in its fullness.
HOW DO WE SHARE IT?
We can't give away something that we haven't got any more than we can come back from some place we haven't been. We begin where Jesus told us, by seeking the Kingdom of God. To the extent that we find it, we can share it with others who are seeking.
When God begins to change our lives, we can begin to share the manifestation of His love within. We can talk about the peace that seems to have displaced our anxiety, the love that has displaced our guilt. The joy that has displaced our heaviness, and the healing of our body, or mind, or soul, or spirit.
We can pray with people in the confidence that the Hope that we have found in Jesus can be shared in prayer.
There is another aspect of our sharing. As Jesus comes into our lives, and through our lives for other people, we can yield to Him, that He might use our bodies as His own, and we can become His witness in those places where He is free to use us as He will.
We can simply make it a point to be with the people He sends us to love. We can show forth the Love that we know now in part, and which draws us toward our Hope as we seek to find a fuller, freer expression of that Love that makes life a new ball game.
NOW IS THE TIME
We cannot know the final and full revelation of our Hope until we are brought to that place where we will know God even as we are known by Him. That relationship is what Jesus defined as Eternal Life. "To know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent." Jn 17:3
It is as we invite God to reveal Himself to us as our Father, who loves us and has sent His Son into the world to die for us, and open for us a new creation into which we come as new creatures - the sons of God Himself. We are made heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ.
We take up the foretaste of that life when we realize that we are Baptized into His death that we might be raised up with Him in His resurrection with Him. We come to know Him as we are able.
We seek and receive Holy Spirit who comes to effect in our lives that which has been revealed in His. He comes to lead us as we walk in the Kingdom. As we give up our voting privileges and accept the Kingdom of God as an absolute monarchy, we grow into the sure knowledge that God alone can establish us in the purpose for which He created us, and we can simply accept the gift of Life with Him - our Hope.
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