Friday, 24 May 2013

What do we hope for?

1Pe 1:1  Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
1Pe 1:2  Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
1Pe 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1Pe 1:4  To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
1Pe 1:5  Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1Pe 1:6  Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
1Pe 1:7  That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
1Pe 1:8  Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
1Pe 1:9  Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

Does it ever get old? The fact that God saved us by His blood, that we of ourselves are nothing but through Him? His blood? The fact that daily we are to lay our lives down, crucify our flesh? Does that stop after repenting one time? Should it bother me when someone says "Repent? Oh, I already did that!" As if it is a magic incantation that only needed one application. Done. "I already did..." really??? YOU DID? What about Jesus? Isn't what HE DID what really matters? The Bible says that repentance is an ongoing process by which HE refines us as HE reveals to us HIS perfection, and that we still have fleshy desires.

Rom 8:20  For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
Rom 8:21  Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Rom 8:22  For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
Rom 8:23  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
Rom 8:24  For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?

It is true, we are still subject to vanity. Not a day goes by that I put too much value on what I do, have done, or am going to do. It is good to do (or not do) but to do all in the Lord and for the Lord, in the Lord's strength and grace, so that it isn't I but the Lord who does it. So our hope is always Jesus, and only Him. What else could we hope for that has any meaning? Are we so complacent in our Christianity that we have to find more or other reasons or meanings to our hope? To try to jumpstart ourselves and revitalize ourselves somehow? That is what the Lord Himself does. If we try to add to what He did, it adds nothing, vanity, selfishness. We groan in our spirit. We travail in pain together...all of creation, but not just creation, we who have the firstfruits of the Spirit. The redemption of our body is something separate from the receiving of the Spirit. It is something that is still ahead. Our body, that is our flesh, is still corruptible. It has not yet put on incorruption.  And thankfully, whether we feel it or not, whether we are rejoicing or sorrowing, Jesus is in control of our future, our hope, and that is our only hope, our blessed hope. There is no other to grab for ourselves, right now, or in our past, or any other time. He provides for all our needs, even when stripped to our last breath on earth. He is everything we need, nothing more is needed. In spite of the fact that we still fail Him every day, and that our deeds are still for vanity, for ourselves, or to boost our or someone else's vanity. He is still good and perfect and loving. He is transforming our vile and selfish flesh into that which is incorruptible. That is our hope.

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