The Hope of Glory
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
—Romans 5:1–2 NIV
[T]here is the hope of the glory of God. This is a definite anticipation of sharing God’s future glory. The word “hope” in English is rather weak. To “hope” means to want something without certainty. But the Greek word underlying it, elpis, means a conviction.
Christian hope is not a hopeful wish—it is a hope-filled certainty. … The more we experience our peace and access with the Father, the more desirous we are to see him face to face, and the more certain and thrilled we become about the prospect of glory and heaven.
By itself, “heaven” can be an abstract and unappetizing idea. But if you come to taste “access” with God and realize how intoxicating it is just to have a couple of drops of his presence on your tongue, you will desire to drink from the fountainhead. That desire, focus, and joyous certainty of the future is called the “hope of glory.”
In Christ, we have been freed from our past (our old record of rebellion and sin is put away and we have peace with God); we are free in the present to enjoy personal relationship with God; and we will one day most certainly experience the freedom of life lived in the full, awesome presence of God’s glory.
God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
—Colossians 1:27 NIV
It’s not in you
The crux of the matter is this: You can’t do it yourself. You just have to turn your life, your mind, your heart, everything over to the Lord and let Him do it. When people finally get to that point where they just give up and let go and let God, then God has a chance to step in and do it. He wants to do it and He wants to show you that you can’t do it, and He wants the glory.
This is what it’s all about; it’s all for the glory of God. Of course you can’t do it. You can’t save yourself, you can’t live a Christian life, you can’t be good, you can’t do anything without Jesus! He Himself said, “Without Me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Let’s face it, every one of us is a hell of a mess, and if we don’t keep our eyes on the Lord and our mind on His Word, we’re doomed to defeat, doubt, disillusionment, and final failure. None of us can stand the sight of ourselves. We’re a mess and nothing without the Lord, and only He can do it, if we’ll just yield to Him.
When Peter started looking at himself, he started to sink (Matthew 14:28–31). It was no use. If you start looking at yourself, you’re going to sink. You have to keep your eyes on Jesus.
You are never going to make it, but God will make it in you. “For it is God which worketh in you, to will and to do of His good pleasure. For ye are dead, and it is Christ which liveth in you, the hope of glory.” (Philippians 2:13; Colossians 3:3; Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:27) That’s what it’s all about. “For where sin doth abound, grace doth much more abound.” (Romans 5:20)
It’s all got to be a miracle of the grace of God. Your work for the Lord, your daily tasks for the Lord, your thoughts and your love for Him and for others and unselfishness and sacrifice and a life of service, all of it is a miracle of God. It’s God’s work.
God doesn’t expect you to do it. All He expects you to do is trust, obey, and yield, then He’ll do it through you. If you come to the end of yourself, that’s when God has a chance to take over and do things to suit Himself. This is why I’ve found that it’s a lot better to think you’re worse than you are than to think you’re better than you are. “For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” (Galatians 6:3)
It’s better that we be weak in ourselves so that He can be strong in us. “For we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7) The weaker we are in our own strength, the more it shows His power, His excellency, and His strength in such weak vessels. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
—David Brandt Berg
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
—Edward Mote, 1834
One way to glory
I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
—Ephesians 1:18 NLT
Some historians clump Christ with Moses, Mohammed, Confucius, and other spiritual leaders. But Jesus refuses to share the page. He declares, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6 RSV) He could have scored more points in political correctness had he said, “I know the way,” or “I show the way.” Yet, he speaks not of what he does but of who he is: I am the way.
His followers refused to soften or shift the spotlight. Peter announced: “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 NLT) Many recoil at such definitiveness. John 14:6 and Acts 4:12 sound primitive in this era of broadbands and broad minds. The world is shrinking, cultures are blending, borders are bending; this is the day of inclusion. All roads lead to heaven, right? But can they? The sentence makes good talk-show fodder, but is it accurate? Can all approaches to God be correct?
Islam says Jesus was not crucified. Christians say he was. Both can’t be right.
Judaism refuses the claim of Christ as the Messiah. Christians accept it. Someone’s making a mistake.
Buddhists look toward Nirvana, achieved after no less than 547 reincarnations. Christians believe in one life, one death, and an eternity of enjoying God. Doesn’t one view exclude the other?
Humanists do not acknowledge a creator of life. Jesus claims to be the source of life. One of the two speaks folly.
Spiritists read your palms. Christians consult the Bible.
Hindus perceive a plural and impersonal God. Christ-followers believe “there is only one God.” (1 Corinthians 8:4 NLT) Somebody is wrong.
And, most supremely, every non-Christian religion says, “You can save you.” Jesus says, “My death on the cross saves you.”
How can all religions lead to God when they are so different? We don’t tolerate such illogic in other matters. We don’t pretend that all roads lead to London or all ships sail to Australia. All flights don’t land in Rome. Imagine your response to a travel agent who claims they do. You tell him you need a flight to Rome, Italy, so he looks on his screen. “Well, there is a flight to Sydney, Australia, departing at 6:00 a.m.”
“Does it go to Rome?”
“No, but it offers wonderful in-flight dining and movies.”
“But I need to go to Rome.”
“Then let me suggest Southwest Airlines.”
“Southwest Airlines flies to Rome?”
“No, but they have consistently won awards for on-time arrivals.”
You’re growing frustrated. “I need one airline to carry me to one place: Rome.”
The agent appears offended. “Sir, all flights go to Rome.”
You know better. Different flights have different destinations. That’s not a thick-headed conclusion but an honest one. Every flight does not go to Rome. Every path does not lead to God. Jesus blazed a stand-alone trail void of self-salvation. He cleared a one-of-a-kind passageway uncluttered by human effort. Christ came, not for the strong, but for the weak; not for the righteous, but for the sinner. We enter his way upon confession of our need, not completion of our deeds. He offers a unique-to-him invitation in which he works and we trust, he dies and we live, he invites and we believe.
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