If you or someone that you know is in need of hope, take the time to read this short article. Try and read this article as a devotional tool. It will only take less than 5 minutes to read through.
In learning to think with a biblical worldview, we need to understand our Christian hope. Hope is a prime topic in Christian theology. The subject of hope is something that we can bring into conversation with everyday Christians and it will speak to our souls. What do we have to look forward to? If we are not “anchored” as the Scripture says, then present moments can feel overpowering. Present moments are not stronger than the coming glory of God. This is what this article is all about…
If you have faced overwhelming moments where life has gotten downright chaotic, what keeps you from being driven back and forth?
The Scripture provides us with an extensive amount of information concerning the Christian future, but many Christians if asked to describe hope, would come up short in being able to talk about the concept with any detail. We know that the Christian hope surrounds the grand event of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, but maybe that is it?
When the clock strikes 12 and everything changes, what happens? God tells us that by having an understanding of our hope in Christ Jesus we will have the strength that we need to remain steadfast, and rock solid in the present. An understanding of the Christian hope gives us a lens from which we are able to view present and past suffering, emotional turmoil and even abuse. Hope is not designed to simply make us feel good or allow us to avoid dealing with the realities of this life but gives us a target date of when wrongs are made right, when we will find true rest, and when we will be with Jesus, we will see him face to face.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Why does Paul describe hope as the “hope of the glory of God?” How are the glory of God and hope related, and what is the glory of God for that matter?
If you had to describe God’s glory, what language would you use? What picture do you see?
The glory of God is an idea in the Bible running back to the earliest stages of the Old Testament. When Paul uses the phrase the glory of God to describe Christian hope, we have a great example here of how the ideas in the New Testament are deeply connected to and rooted within Old Testament Judaism. Gaining understanding about the way the people in the Bible thought and used language is part of how we develop a biblical worldview.
Something to look for when reading the Bible is to pay attention to when the New Testament writers use language that we would not use to describe something. When Paul says that hope is the “hope of the glory of God,” and we realize that we would not describe the Christian hope in this way, we can recognize a gap between our understanding and Paul’s. Where we can’t quite see why Paul or other New Testament writers would use the language that they are deploying to define or describe a concept, we may want to stop and ask, “Why?”
What is the glory of God?
In the Old Testament the glory of God represented the presence of God with his people. The glory of God is pictured like a light cloud, literally a cloud with flashing and burning light, sometimes accompanied by loud noises. This glory of God appeared to Abraham, it was present on the mountain of Sinai, and it filled Solomon’s temple at its inauguration. Where the glory of God is present, God is revealing himself in a powerful, unforgettable, and experiential way with booming sounds and searing light. By the revelation of his presence, he is saying by his actions, I am with you, I am powerful, and you do not need to worry about your enemies because you have my favor.
The Jewish people thought of the glory of God as a sign of God’s favor to them and therefore of his blessing. If God was present, he was going to act within history, within their situation and bring them out from under the power of any oppression or threats from foreign enemies. In our own situations, where and when we feel oppressed or threatened, we know that the glory of God will one day be completely revealed in paradise. While we have a foretaste of the glory of God through the Holy Spirit, this is only a small dosage of the full reality, the full manifestation of God’s glory.
When you think about the glory of God, how does it make you feel?
The glory of God gives us hope, knowing that he will be completely present, completely with us in a way that we have never experienced before, and in his glory, we will absolutely have rest because his power will be on full display. Because his nature is good, his power is used to execute that will of saving those who are oppressed, righting wrongs, and reversing injustices.
Following this frame of reference, Paul then in Romans 5 immediately states that we glory in our sufferings.
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance.
The future glory of God is related to our own present difficulties. The Bible makes this direct correlation. There is a future glory of God that we wholeheartedly anticipate, and in a different sense, there is a relationship now between our sufferings and that future glory. This back and forth relationship between sufferings and glory is a major theme that runs through the entire Scripture, most dramatically pictured in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
We can glory (or better translated “boast”) in our current hardship, knowing that it is all pointing towards a future glory that will be revealed. Scripture tells us to boast and exult in the future glory of God, but do the same in our present suffering. Part of human suffering is that it teaches us to wait patiently upon his deliverance.
Paul, here in Romans, is thinking about what suffering achieves, not just the feeling itself.
It is important that we remember that hardship is actually achieving something in us, it has meaning, it is not an end in itself for the Christian. It is producing something godly in us even though it may not feel that way in the moment. So let us boast in our suffering, for if we suffer with Christ then we will also reign and be glorified with him. The servant is not above his master. If Jesus also suffered, certainly we are not exempt from hardship. Let us see our own present tribulations as part of the story of Christ, not as our own problems in isolation from him. We are not separate from him, but are identified with him completely, in our current suffering and in future glory. Nothing is able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, even our current circumstances.
The traditional ways of viewing honor and shame, success and adversity are turned on their heads in Christ Jesus because of the future retribution, because of the future restoration in Christ Jesus. When we look at life through a clear understanding, a true, biblical understanding of the Christian hope, we are gaining a biblical worldview and are learning to understand suffering in its proper context.
If you have any questions or need anything for yourself feel free to contact me through our website, www.brentmjoseph.com, or send me a text at (352) 600-0209.