Holding Fast to the Blessed Hope
I just returned from the memorial services for a favorite cousin. Two days ago the newspaper published a lengthy obituary of 8 paragraphs on his life. Besides family information, it described the highlights of his life- accomplishments as an all-star athlete, professional achievements, awards and recognition as an educator and leader in the community, state and at the national level. His exemplary character and life lessons he expoused were extolled by the author of his obit.
BUT the most important paragraph was the first one which was a testimony of who he was- a child of God who had an intimate relationship with God, his Father in Heaven:
(He was) ‘lovingly surrounded by family and friends, and filled with the Holy Spirit’. . . ‘called home to enjoy everlasting life with Jesus Christ in heaven. His family laid hands, and prayed the Lord’s Prayer saying a final aloha, knowing goodness and mercy shall follow him as his spirit lifted to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.’
My cousin loved the Lord with his whole heart and knew WHO he was; he knew WHERE he was going when his time on earth was over; and he knew HOW he would receive salvation and eternal life by believing in the name of Jesus. He knew about the BLESSED HOPE and was holding on to it.
‘Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto himself a peruliare people, zealous of good works.’ (Titus 2:12-14)
Hebrews chapter 11 says this about the ‘heroes’ or patriarchs from the Old Testament:
‘These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. . .
‘But now they desire a better country, that is an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.‘ (Heb 11:13, 16)
This is our BLESSED HOPE– That because Jesus was resurrected from the dead so we, too, can also HOLD ON TO THE BLESSED HOPE OF OUR RESURRECTION!
‘But I would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words‘. (1Thess 4:13-18)