By Not Known
The Bible holds out a big message of hope for God’s creation and people.
Zechariah explains this hope in the terms of his generation – a revived Israel and an
impregnable Jerusalem. The Gospels explain it in terms of the fullness of God’s
kingdom: God’s people in God’s place and under God’s rule. Revelation explains it
as a re-creation of the heavens and the earth, taking us right back to the Genesis
ideal. The whole Bible points us to Jesus as the Son sent from God through whose
death, resurrection and return the hope becomes reality. He is the only way to
There are some dangers when we start talking about Christian hope. One is that we
project the hope so far off that it is firewalled from the present. This is sometimes
caricatured as: a pie in the sky when you die. This is a hope that does not touch
and re-shape life in the present. In short, it is future hope without present
The Bible talks about future hope with present responsibility. Thus Jesus
announced that the kingdom of God ‘is near‘ (Mat 4: 17). He expected his followers
to start living by kingdom values now. (for example, the Sermon on the Mount is
largely an application of kingdom values to our present life before his return.)
Likewise Paul insists that the Christian’s share in the death and resurrection of
Jesus is to now re-shape our lives (Rom 6:1-14; Col 3:1-17).
The Bible’s sense of future hope creates several present responsibilities:
To live for our future hope. This includes now denying ourselves that we
may serve God and others. We don’t need to crave earth’s blessings, for
God has plenty of good things to come for us.
To live by our future hope. This includes now reflecting kingdom loyalties
and values in our attitudes, thoughts and deeds.
To anticipate and show God’s hope by doing good and reflecting God’s
character in those parts of creation that we can touch.
To spread the message of God’s hope by telling people about Jesus and
calling on them to enter his kingdom by submitting to him in repentance
So, let’s live responsibly in the present in the light of God’s future.