This pastoral passage was first written for LRBC on June 12 2015.
How naturally does rejoicing spring forth from your faith? The third of the blessings arising from being justified in Christ in Romans 5:1-2 is ‘hope of the glory of God’. This is something that ‘we rejoice’ in. I have heard it said that Christianity is a ‘singing’ faith, although I must confess that singing does not normally emanate too naturally from me! This ‘hope of glory’ is certainly not something I see very often in the songs that are sung at Christian gatherings. Maybe if this theme was more prominent rejoicing would come more naturally?
I think we Christians today aren’t very forward looking in our faith. Aside from thinking about what happens to us when we reach the end of our own lives, the hope of glory does not burn fervently within us. Perhaps we are too busy with life and too preoccupied with our own hopes for it. In our faith we look back at what’s been done on the cross, and back on our own conversion or experiences with God, and we of course think about how we stand with God in the present. But we don’t seem to have strong expectations for God to act in the future.
The person who belongs to the world has no idea where they will be a million years from now. We who belong to Christ can look forward to our not-too-distant eternal future with eager expectation. Confident expectation. Our thoughts are beckoned to our future and to what is in store for those who are called sons and daughters of God (1 Cor. 2:9; Gal. 5:5; 2 Pet. 3:14; 1 Jn. 3:2). This is the kind of hope that lifts the heart to rejoice in anticipation. This is the hope that is yours if you can count yourself among the justified in Jesus. So acknowledge it, own it, relish it. That will give us occasion to rejoice.