Posted by Pastor Jim Fikkert

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. | Romans 5:1–5

In the sermon Sunday, we saw that hopelessness is a result of worldview, not circumstance. While it may be that a bad experience pushes you over the edge, that experience is not what makes you hopeless; it is that you had an incorrect hope to place that event into. So how does the HOPE of Jesus carry us through this?

the HOPE of Jesus places value beyond circumstance

The first thing that happens when we become Christians is that our reading of everyday events changes. No longer is this world simply about the surface level feelings and experiences, but ALL THINGS are now charged with meaning. This happens because we have hope that a sovereign, good God is working all of these seemingly unrelated and chaotic elements together into a grand story. What this does is places the momentary sting of sorrow into a larger purpose; it means suffering is not without meaning.

the HOPE of Jesus places purpose outside of this world

That meaning is God’s glory. While joy and happiness are parts of the story, we can not embrace the grace of Jesus without the reality of what sin is. What is sin?

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Romans 3:23–26

Sin is falling short of God’s glory, something that needs to be punished (or propitiated for), and a means by which God’s righteousness can be displayed. In all of this, the purpose of life is shifted to God; more specifically, it is connected to His ultimate glory. If the purpose of this world is God’s glory than the meaning of the moment is based on Him, not us.

the HOPE of Jesus places trust for our future in Him

The hope we have is not just that God will be glorified in spite of our situation; it is that He promises to share His victory with us. If we take glory that belongs to Him, we set ourselves up as enemies; if we live our lives for His glory, we gain from His greatness. This is somewhat counter-intuitive to us, we tend to hold on and attempt to protect everything we have for fear of losing it. The hope of Jesus is that your future is secured and protected by Him. 1 Peter 1 says it like this:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. | 3–5

Our hope is a living hope: it can not be put to death because it is not contained in this world, in our daily situations, or in our ability to provide value for our lives. Our hope is that Jesus has won, He will bring this victory to bear on all things, and we get to be part of the celebration.

Practically, this means that the ups and downs of this life are part of a much larger picture that we can not see yet. While we still struggle and mourn, we do so while looking forward to the day when the senselessness of the present will make sense. We let the power of the cross propel us forward; we let the hope of the New Heavens and the New Earth pull us in, and we live in the present, sure of what we can hope for and certain of what we cannot see (Hebrews 11.1). May you develop a worldview that allows you to echo the words of the Apostle Paul:

to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1.21).