The First Hope (2 Cor. 5:19; Eph. 2:14; Rev. 13:8)
After the fall of Adam and Eve, the first sign of hope was seen. Adam and Eve, because of their disobedience, lost everything—their occupation, their livelihood, their clothing, their home, and their hope. But God came down and promised them that a Savior would be born through their seed (Gen. 3:15).
Although they would be subject to death, Adam and Eve did not die that day in the Garden of Eden. The “lamb [was] slain from the foundation of the world,” and the plan to save humanity was put in place (Rev. 13:8). God loved a world that did not love Him in return. He gave up His Son to a people who “did not receive Him” (John 3:16, 17; 1:11, NKJV). Thus, through the sacrifice of Jesus, the barrier of sin would be broken down (2 Cor. 5:19; Eph. 2:14) and all could have hope again.
Because Christ is alive, His promises can be trusted.
Therefore this plan, although difficult in its execution, allowed Jesus to come into the world to redeem, to buy back, His people (Ps. 34:22; Isa. 44:22–24). Through this method of redemption, God’s people could once again be heirs of salvation (Heb. 1:14). Jesus would live among us as one of us. He would be “made like” us and be tempted “in all points” like us, yet He would not succumb to temptation (Heb. 2:17, 18; 4:15). Because He overcame, tempted humanity would now have hope (Rev. 3:21).
Hope in Temptation
Although humanity has become “subject to bondage” through their disobedience to God and their obedience to Satan, Jesus gives us hope (Heb. 2:14, 15). There is no longer a fear that temptation, regardless of its apparent difficulty, cannot be overcome. Because Jesus “has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Heb. 2:18, NKJV). Humanity now has hope in the same power through which Jesus overcame.
Through acceptance of Jesus, humanity can be reborn (John 1:12, 13; Rom. 1:16).
Jesus “gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14, NKJV). God is faithful, and He always provides a way of escape in the midst of any temptation (1 Cor. 10:13). Hope is offered even in temptation.
Hope After Death
As a conclusion to life, death is often pictured as the end. That’s how it appeared when Jesus died. The disciples hid “for fear of the Jews” (John 20:19). But, it was through the death of Christ that hope was secured for our salvation, and it was through the resurrection of Christ that hope was restored (1 Pet. 1:3, 21).
Without the resurrection of Christ, our preaching, our lives, our faith— everything is futile (1 Cor. 15:12–19, 22, 23). However, because Christ was resurrected, our final enemy, death, will be destroyed (1 Cor. 15:26).
It may appear that sin, and its results, will continue to raise its ugly head and that it will never be avenged (Hab. 1:2; Luke 18:1–8). However, when Cain killed Abel, the Lord responded, “ ‘The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground’ ” (Gen. 4:10, NKJV). Each of God’s faithful who have been persecuted and oppressed will see the Lord’s justice and judgment.
Moses, in his final address to the children of Israel, described God’s vengeance in these words: “ ‘ “And there is no God besides Me; . . . nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.” ’ ” “ ‘ “ ‘My hand takes hold on judgment, I will render vengeance to My enemies, and repay those who hate Me.’ ” ’ ” “ ‘For He will avenge the blood of His servants, and render vengeance to His adversaries; He will provide atonement for His land and His people’ ” (Deut. 32:39, 41, 43, NKJV). What greater adversary does God have than sin and the originator of temptation, Satan?
The Blessed Hope
One day soon, Jesus will come to gather His own. He who suffered and tasted “death for everyone” is alive (Heb. 2:9, NKJV). The Redeemer lives (Job 19:25). And, because Christ is alive, His promises can be trusted. He has overcome the world, and therefore He offers peace and hope (John 16:33). He is preparing a place for His own. He is coming again to take us to where He is (John 14:1–3). “For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith” (Heb. 10:37, 38). He has paid the price; He has redeemed His own; He is coming soon.
Hope in the New
When all is said and done, when sin has run its course, then judgment will complete its course (Eccles. 12:13, 14). “ ‘The God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; . . . and it shall stand forever’ ” (Dan. 2:44, NKJV). In that kingdom, whose streets are paved with gold, every tear will be wiped away. In that city, “ ‘there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain’ ” there because He who sits on the throne will say, “ ‘Behold, I make all things new’ ” (Rev. 21:4, 5, NKJV).
1. How can I allow the hope of Jesus’ redemption to shape my life?
2. What aspects of God’s hope mean the most to me?