Colossians 1:25-29 – “Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, 26 that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations; but has now been manifested to His saints, 27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ.” NASB
The question must be asked, “Why do so many, in the Church, live with the world’s Hope rather than the Bible’s Hope?” One of the reasons is we cling to our experience in the beginning and never move deeper into a relationship. It is in our history but not our present. We take about what happened back then. Why? Because that’s all we have. Over time we grow bored with the sameness of what we are saying and lose the genuineness of Hope!
I heard about a man who wrote down what had happened to him. He called it “My Blessed Experience.” He kept it in a box in the attic. Anytime a visitor would come he would bring it down and read it to them. He would say, “This is what happened to me!” One day a visitor came, and he sent his daughter to retrieve his “Blessed Experience” so he could read it to them. She came down dejected and gave him the bad news, the rats had eaten his Blessed Experience.
Tragically there are countless professing Christians who go to church every Sunday and experience the ritual but not life. I would suggest that you could leave many churches for a few years and come back and it would be exactly the same. There would be the same songs, same testimonies, and the same sermons. They are always trying to recapture their Blessed Experience. They are trying to remember what happened. That’s all they have, a memory.
In that state of mind, a person looks at the Blessed Hope and it is a wish or a longing but not a current experience in the heart. The Blessed Hope is the consummation of the whole Kingdom of God, not the Great Escape. Years ago, I stopped singing some of the age-old songs of the church. Why? There are many reasons but two are, some of them were defeatist in their message and because I wanted to live with the current reality of Christ in Me. I did not want to live in a memory of what used or a dream of what it will be sometimes in the future when we have the Grand Finale. I wanted a current reality of Christ in me NOW!
When Jesus returns that will be the Grand Finale of what we are supposed to be enjoying as Christians now! We are in Christ right now! The eternal kingdom of God is bursting forth in us and out of us, right now! We have a past, and we have a future and sadly too many view the present as a vacuum or a parenthesis. It is Christ in Us, the Hope of Glory NOW!
The Hope of Glory is NOW, in this present world! It is not in the sweet by and by it is in the now and now. It is today, this is the Day the Lord has made. The Pardon that God gave us and the interaction with Him through the Holy Spirit is NOW!
If you remember the parable of the prodigal son, it brings this into reality powerfully. As he journeyed home, while he was still a great way off, he rehearsed his speech. He planned to say, “Father, I have sinned against you. Make me as one of your hired servants.”
That is fascinating because a hired servant was not a slave or a servant. The servants live ‘on’ the property all the time, but the hired servants only came at harvest time. He was basically an odd-job worker, a temp, hired by the day. He was a Day Laborer! He was saying to his father, “Dad, I ask you to forgive me. I’ll go live in the village, and at harvest time, I ask that you give me a job.” That is all he expected!
But his father ran to him, fell on his neck, kissed him, and forgave him completely. The prodigal took out his prepared speech and began but suddenly everything changed. His father would not let him finish. Instead, he reinstated him as a full son. This is my son who was lost, dead but now alive. A whole new life unfolded before him.
That is what I’m talking about in Hope! When I came to Jesus, I would have been satisfied with just being pardoned. But suddenly I discover there was more to this than meets the eye. Everything that God has promised is mine! But when I came to Him, I did not know what He had Promised other than Pardon. He gives, and gives, and gives, and gives!
Believers we must learn to move beyond from talking about the past, the Blessed Experience, and live every day in excited! We must learn to live in the fullness of God’s Blessings and Promises. We dare not pitch our tents around Forgiveness. That is wonderful but not the whole story. We cannot be satisfied to settle for what God did, we must move our eyes forward to THE HOPE, that everything that God has said is ours!
God’s desire for us is that we enjoy All of His Promises and live as though He were telling the truth, because He is! If God says that He wants to give it, then our Hope and Expectation is that He will! That is where we are to live as Christians in Hope! We are the people of HOPE! We have the positive, unshakeable confidence that what God said He will do! We are to live in the Excited Expectancy and Eager Desire for “Thy Kingdom Come and Thy Will be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven.”
WE HAVE HOPE! God bless you as you embark on a new fuller journey in Jesus!