If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
Thoughts for Today:Several years ago, Time Magazine ran a cover story with the title, "Is Heaven Real?" The article described a general decline in concern about what happens after this life. Even theologians (including some pastors and ministers), expressed a lack of interest in heaven. Why? Because they have a hard time relating the doctrine of heaven to everyday living and the practical problems that we face in the modern world. It seems many people only want to hear sermons related to the challenges they currently face (marriage, family, child rearing, health problems, time management, etc). However, the reason for our faith is much more than just getting us through this life -- it is also to have hope for the next.
In this life, it is such a blessing to know we can count on God in times of turmoil. It's comforting to know that if we become sick, lose our job, or have a difficult family problem -- our God will never leave us. He is our refuge and strength. But if that's all the farther our faith takes us, Paul tells us we are to be pitied more than anyone else. So what is the hope we have in Christ that Paul mentions in our passage today?
Romans 4:25: "He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification."
John 6:40: "For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day."
John 11:25, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die."
1 Thessalonians 4:14: "For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him."
Forgiveness, resurrection, eternal life, reunion in heaven -- that is our hope in Christ -- and it's not only for this life!
Questions to Ponder:The hope that is ours in Christ is not lost when this life is over. It is a hope that extends beyond this life, beyond the grave, a hope that is fulfilled in glory and victory as we leave earthly life and enter eternity. Is your faith, your hope, only for this life? Do you look to Jesus Christ only for help on this side of the grave?