So, what is our hope? And, on what is it based? Is it based in man? No! It can’t be, because men (and women) will fail us, because they are human. They may promise much, but not deliver. So, we must put our hope in Jesus Christ, not in humans, no matter who they are.
We cannot rest our hope in counselors, advisors, pastors, moderators, mentors, friends, neighbors, church members, family members and/or spouses. This is not to say that none of these are trustworthy, but that we are all flesh and blood, and thus we cannot rest our hope in anything that is of man.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” Rom. 1:16-17 NIV
Our only hope in this life is found in Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Savior. Anything less than that is no hope at all.
Jesus Christ, God the Son, came to earth, took on human flesh, and was tempted in like manner as we are, yet without sin. He healed the sick and afflicted, raised the dead, cast out demons, comforted the sorrowful, fed the hungry, brought hope to the downcast, and preached repentance and obedience for the forgiveness of sins and for eternal life with God in heaven.
Although he was fully God, yet fully man, and he was the fulfillment of prophecy of scripture regarding the Messiah who was to come, he was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Most of the Jews hated him, particularly the leaders in God’s temple, so they had him killed because they would not believe in him. This was because they didn’t like the things he did and said, and because they were jealous of him and resented his interference in their lives.
But, this was the will of God that Jesus Christ should suffer and die on a cross, although he was sinless, because he became our sacrificial Lamb to take away the sins of the world. He became sin for us on that cross, thus putting sin to death with him, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.
By faith in him, and in what he did for us on that cross, and in his resurrection from the dead, we die with him to sin, and we are raised with him to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. This is what it means to be “born again.” The old man (flesh) is put to death, and a new man (person), of the Spirit of God, is born from above. The Holy Spirit now comes to live inside this person and to lead him or her in the way of righteousness and holiness.
Not All Believe
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Rom. 1:18-20 NIV
Yet, not everyone has faith. Even among those who profess faith in Jesus Christ, many do not possess God-given faith, which is divinely persuaded as to God’s holiness and righteousness and as to his divine will for our lives. They have never truly been “born again” of the Spirit of God. Thus, they mouth empty words filled with empty promises and insincere devotion to God, because they are still enslaved to their flesh, and unwilling to let it go. Even though they have known the way of truth, they follow after the lie instead, because that is what feeds their flesh. So, they are without excuse.
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.” Rom. 1:21-23 NIV
God has revealed himself to all humankind through his created works, so that all are without excuse. But, what about those who have known the way of holiness, and who have studied the scriptures, and who have professed faith in Jesus Christ, and yet they, too, are the godless and the wicked, who suppress the truth by their wickedness? They fall into the same category. For, it doesn’t matter what we profess. What matters is what we live.
“Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” Rom. 1:24-25 NIV
If men and women, who have known the truth, resist the truth, and choose to follow after the lie instead, God will not force his will upon them. He will leave them to their own devices. He will let them go do whatever it is they have decided in their flesh to do.
Sexual perversion and addiction have reached epidemic proportions, at least here in the USA. With the invention of the internet, which certainly has good purposes, and with the introduction of the home computer, then tablets (like I Pads), and now smart phones, any person can get into a vast array of sexual impurity right at their fingertips, and in the privacy of their own personal space, even if they are in a room full of people, because of the privacy afforded to them by the smart phone, with no real accountability to anyone for what they are viewing or participating in.
What just kills my heart is how many of these internet devices are being handed to children, oftentimes with no supervision, and without any type of protections for them on the devices that would prevent them from going where no one ought to go. But, even a lot of these protections which are put in place can be worked around, and children are much smarter at finding things on these devices than many of us adults. If they don’t know a work-around, probably they have friends who do. And, many of these children, too, left to their own devices, are getting into sexting and some of them maybe into child pornography, too.
“Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” Rom. 1:26-27 NIV
When people get addicted to pornography, it often takes them down a path into much sexual perversion, including homosexual relations, and other seductive forms of sexual distortion and impurity. But, it isn’t the pornography, per se, which leads them down that path. This is a heart issue, and it is a lust issue. Because they are following after the lusts of their flesh, and not after the Spirit of God, they will always be wanting more and more of that which will never satisfy. This often leads people into what is unnatural, because the natural no longer gratifies them. They are, in essence, going after broken cisterns, which do not hold water.
“Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” Rom. 1:28-32 NIV
The further down this rabbit hole that people travel into sexual sin, the more wicked their minds become, for they have to protect their addictions. Thus, they not only lie about what they are doing, but they plot evil against others, and use others to their advantage in order to keep feeding their lust addiction. They will stomp on the hearts of their spouses, use and abuse their children, take from whomever they can, and will create all kinds of ways to do evil in order to feed their wicked and godless minds and hearts. They have no clue how to love others because they are devoid of love. They are totally consumed with self, and that is all that really matters to them, although they pretend that is not the case, sometimes.
Back to Hope
So, what is our only hope in all of this craziness, wickedness, depravity, and pain? Our only hope is Jesus Christ and what he did for us on that cross when he took our pain and our suffering and our sins upon himself, that by his stripes we may be healed. He is our only hope in this sin-sick world of ours.
So, when humans have failed us, mistreated us, betrayed, abused and persecuted us, we must turn to the Lord Jesus for him to heal our wounded hearts. We have to cry it all out to him, and ask him to fill us with his peace and his joy even in the midst of our pain and suffering.
He is also the only hope for those who have wandered away from God, who have denied the truth by their lifestyles, and who have gone after broken cisterns which do not hold water, and which will never satisfy. He died to deliver you out of your slavery (addiction) to sin. You just have to let go of your sin, let the Spirit of God put it to death in your life, and yield to God, and allow the Holy Spirit to give you all that you need to resist Satan, flee temptation, and draw near to God.
God’s grace to us is not a free license to continue in sin without guilt, and without remorse. His grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly (fleshly) passions (lusts) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await our Lord’s return (See: Tit. 2:11-14).
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly trust in Jesus’ name…
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless stand before the throne.
Friday, January 19, 2018, 2:57 p.m. – Thank you, Jesus! May we find our only hope for this life in you, for you alone can fill our emptiness and make us whole! Amen!