Hope. That’s what Advent is about. We long for, dream about, hope for His coming. It’s that longing that is such a critical aspect of our faith experience in Christ — as Paul the apostle says, “Abide in these things: faith, hope and love.” These are the three biggies. And Advent is the season when we emphasize hope.
As Peter puts it, we are born again into a “living hope.”
Martin Luther describes this hope: “The treasure is still hidden, and a curtain is drawn before it, so that we cannot see it. It can now be apprehended only the heart and through faith. Therefore we must in the meanwhile comfort ourselves with this hope, which is certain and will not let us be put to shame, until that day when we shall see what we now hope for.”
Okay, I’m going to ask the obvious. Why? Why couldn’t God have just given us a new birth into a completed, new forever, that we don’t have to hope for, because we have it all now? Do you ever ask yourself that question – why God couldn’t have just finished the job the first time around?
More Luther: “The reason we Christians continue to live on the earth is that we should proclaim abroad the virtue of Him Who called us…that others might come to the same knowledge and faith … Otherwise it would be best if God would permit us to die as soon as we are baptized and commence to believe!”
Yes! Unless God has a reason for leaving us in this tension, He should take us now! But, He does have a reason – it’s the proclamation of the gospel. This is a good, glorious and merciful reason for not establishing us in heaven right now.
So…are you seeing the richness of Advent now?
- We rejoice in the assurance of our eternal hope! But, until then…
- We rejoice that God counts us co-laborers in His mission!
- We rejoice in His mercy, as He withholds judgment until all who are appointed to salvation can hear His gospel!
Can you say it with me? “Our living hope is better than it would be if the final consummation had already been experienced.” After all, this is God’s will, and God has no Plan Bs. There is nothing better in the universe than God’s current plan.
…And, we rejoice that His current plan calls for the eventual accomplishment of God’s mission, when He will then wrap things up, and allow us to take hold of and enjoy our eternal inheritance. It’s okay to long for that! But it’s also more than okay to rejoice in our hope!
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