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The Christian's hope

Jesus Sermon on the Mount-painting
Jesus Sermon on the Mount-painting
LaVista church of Christ

The writer of the Hebrew letter defines faith thusly: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen". (Hebrews 11:1 KJV)

And that also describes hope. There are a number of definitions given by various dictionaries but one of the most accurate and meaningful seems to be this: 'A desire with confident expectations'. The Holy Bibles tells us the Christians reason for living the Christian life. There is a wonderful reward which awaits the faithful Christian. A wonderful life forever with none of the negative aspects found in the human's physical life. Those of us who do not deny that there is an almighty God whose Son came to this earth and died that we might have access to such a life, hope for that reward. We desire it and have confident expectations of obtaining it. It is more than a wishful thinking. We have hope of it because we have the promise of that almighty God if we obey Him. And there is ample evidence of His existence and His authentic revelation in the Holy Bible. That is the evidence mentioned in the quote from the Hebrew letter above.

Perhaps the clearest and most concise verse containing His promise is found in the book of Revelation:

"Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." (Revelation 2:10 KJV)

And you see, Christians are the only ones who have this hope. It is not available for those who do not believe in Jehovah God, His Son, or His revelation to man. And to say that you believe in those is inadequate. You have to live a dedicated life to His service. Notice that promise above and consider the condition which precedes the reward: "Be thou faithful unto death...". And that does not simply mean attend services of His church until your death arrives. It means to live an obedient life before Him, even if it means also giving your life. Many of those early Christians did exactly that, they gave their life rather than denounce Jesus Christ, the Son.

A notable reformation era gospel preacher, Alexander Campbell, in a public debate with an atheist made this remark which plainly describes it. He said, "Sir, you are like that oxen over there, you have no hope".

This writer has had numerous discussions with atheists, and I have generally asked them, "Why do you desire to have me to disclaim my belief in God? What benefit have you for me to exchange for the loss of my hope of eternal life?" Their only response is that they feel one should know the truth. They have no value to their beliefs and they have no proofs of them either. For one to relinquish their faith in God not only causes them to lose their eternal reward, but brings upon them again, the fear of death.

The atheist does have a reward for his thinking, and that is he does not have to humble himself before the God of heaven in which he does not

believe. But unfortunately, that is a very temporary reward and once his life is over he will understand that a brief reward is far from comparable to that of eternal life in glory and peace. The Bible says several times, "They have their reward."

"Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward." (Matthew 6:2 KJV)

"And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward." (Matthew 6:5 KJV)

"Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward." (Matthew 6:16 KJV)

The apostle Paul told the Christians in Colosse that their hope was laid up for them in heaven, by which he means that their reward is reserved for them, life eternal with God the Father and His Son. (Colossians 1:5)

If you are living in the light of God's word, continue to do so and be thankful for the hope that is in you and never let anyone put doubt into your mind concerning it. You have the Biblical proofs of creation, life, death and eternity while those of whom will try to shake your faith have no hope, no proofs of any of the facts just stated, only a rebellious attitude towards God.