Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Midweek Meditation: On Hope (J.I. Packer)

"Living between the two comings of Christ, Christians are to look backward and forward; back to the manger, the cross, and the empty tomb, whereby salvation was won for them; forward to their meeting with Christ beyond this world, their personal resurrection, and the joy of being with their Savior in glory forever. New Testament devotion is consistently oriented to this hope: Christ is 'our hope' (1 Tim 1:1) and we serve the 'God of hope' (Rom 15:13). Faith itself is defined as 'being sure of what we hope for' (Heb 11:1), and Christian commitment is defined as having 'fled to take hold of . . . this hope as an anchor for the soul' (Heb 6:18-19)." (James Innell Packer, Concise Theology, Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1993, 183)

"An ethic of hope pervades the New Testament. It is an ethic of pilgrimage: one should see oneself in this world as a stranger traveling home (1 Pet 2:11, Heb 11:13). It is an ethic of purity: everyone who really hopes to be like Jesus when he appears 'purifies himself, just as he is pure' (1 John 3:3). It is an ethic of preparedness: we should be ready to leave this world for a closer relationship with Christ our Lord at any time when the summons come (2 Cor 5:6-8; Phil 1:21-24; cf Luke 12:15-21). It is an ethic of patience: 'if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently' (Rom 8:25; cf. 5:1-5, where the Greek word for 'patience' is translated 'perseverance' to bring out the nuance of stubborn persistence in face of pressures). And it is an ethic of power: the hope gives strength and confidence, energizing effort for running the race, fighting the good fight, and enduring the 'light and momentary troubles' (2 Cor 4:17) that still remain before we go home (Rom 8:18;15:13; 2 Tim 4:7-8)." (183-4)

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