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  • Ballynahinch Congregational

A good, lively and blessed hope

By Rev Victor Neill

'And hope maketh not ashamed; (never disappoints) because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us’. (Romans 5 v 5)

In dark and difficult times and indeed throughout life we need ‘hope’ and indeed the Bible has much to say about ‘hope’. Of course, I should point out that the word ‘hope’ as it is used in the New Testament does not express any uncertainty or doubt , but rather absolute certainty – confidence, an unswerving anticipation of good from the Lord, both now and in the eternal future.

There are three adjectives which are used to help describe the beauty and wonder of the believer’s ‘hope in Christ’. We read in of ‘good hope’ - ‘Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God even our Father, which hath loved us and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace (2nd Thessalonians 2 v 16). Other translations put it this way a good ground for hope’ - ‘a well-founded hope’. There certainly are good grounds for this hope, this confidence, because it is ‘through grace’. This is the amazing and wonderful grace of God in Christ – which offers a great and free salvation to all who believe that Christ died for their sins and rose again and who so believing surrender their hearts and lives to Him. This is the solid ground for our ‘good hope’ - of an eternal home in heaven.

The Bible also speaks of ‘a lively’ or ‘living hope’ – ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead’ (1 Peter 1 v 3). Because Christ has conquered death and sin, then in Him we have a living hope that can never die and no one or nothing in all creation can rob us of this ‘living hope’!

We also have a ‘blessed hope’ – ‘Looking for that blessed hope and glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ’ (Titus 2 v 13). ‘That blessed hope’ is the fulfilment of all the promises of God for His redeemed children, which will be more glorious and wonderful than we can imagine. This will be fully realised when our Lord Jesus returns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords’ (Revelation 19 v16) and when ‘every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord’ (Philippians 2 v 10 &11). Do you have this blessed hope, this living hope, this good hope?

The hymn puts it:

‘My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

Someone has rightly said:

Other men see a hopeless end, but the Christian rejoices in an endless hope!’

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