(Facebook Note - November 2, 2009)
I wrote this up for a friend recently and then decided to share it with everyone.
So, you mentioned feeling hopeless. I realized last Spring that that's what I was feeling, and then I stumbled across 1 Peter 1:13 which says, "Set your hope FULLY on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed."
I want to tell you an amazing message. We have messed up in every way. We continue to mess up every day. Even our good works are as filthy rags in the sight of God (Isaiah 64:6). The good we ought to do we do not do (Rom 7). We deserve the wrath of God. And there is NOTHING that we can do to change that. NOTHING. (John 15:1-8) We can do all we want and not get one bit closer to God. So God, in his infinite mercy, made himself sin for us so that in HIM we might become righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21). God chose to crush himself for our sake (Isaiah 53:10). He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Peter 2:24) So that we might be reconciled to God (2 Cor 5:15) So that we might behold God and know Him (2 Corinthians 3:18). And now there is no condemnation. There is no need to carry guilt or the burden of sin in our lives (Rom 8; Matthew 11:28-30)
So, God chose to make himself an offering in our place. There was/is nothing that we can or could ever do to be worthy. But now we can approach with confidence because of what He did. What a Savior. What a God.
Ok, now, you may be saying, "Yeah, I already know all of that. That's the gospel and I'm a Christian. I believed that long ago and was washed clean. And what does all of that have to do with hope?" Well, what people often don't realize is that the gospel message applies to all areas of our life. We should never let the message of the cross move far from the forefront of our mind. We should live every situation out in consideration of how the cross applies to it (there are a number of scriptures I could point out that enumerate this point, but I want to get to my point.) So anyways, I thought it might be helpful for you to spend some time meditating on the gospel. Thinking over what a savior we have.
And this is our hope. Our hope is in God. Our hope is in Christ. Our hope is in the grace that he has given us through Christ. We can know that he is serious about this because he CRUSHED HIMSELF for our sake, so how much more will he provide for our every day living. So what is left for us to do but to trust in Him. Now, I know that all of this is much easier said than done, and I have many days that this is not what my life looks like, but I strive to be more impacted by the message that Christ died in my place. To be more effected by the truth that I can do NOTHING (John 15:5). To be more humbled by the fact that any fruit that I see in my life has nothing to do with me but everything to do with Him. (Colossians 1:9-10) These things all just leave me searching out His word to know Him more and understand what he desires, and to spend time in prayer recognizing that I can do nothing apart from him. And living my life as a living sacrifice (Heb 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 5:15) And that is our hope. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Our hope is that we have been reconciled to God and can live in light of that.