Hope, Properly Defined

Something about my last post didn’t quite sit right with me when I finished it.  A comment by PTS professor Scott Sunquist last night helped sort it out.  A student asked him to expound on the theme of hope, making reference to Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  Sunquist went on to talk about how all of the examples given in Hebrews 11 of heroes of faith died before they saw their hope realized (see Heb. 11:13).  What we truly hope for in the Kingdom of God cannot be realized within time. To use a seminary word, it’s eschatological hope.  It’s a hope that grows out of Christ’s resurrection.  And there’s no way to resurrection without crucifixion. 

The people of our world do indeed need to hear a message of hope, and they know this.  That’s why we look for hope in myriad places: political figures, technology, health-care, green economies, government bailouts.  All of these objects of “hope”, however, will one day disappoint us.  They are all false-hopes.  What distinguishes the Christian message of hope from all others is the gigantic cross that stands right in the center of the path to the land hoped for.  We do indeed proclaim a message of hope, but it’s one that has its center in the crucified Jesus.  Hope abstracted from both the cross and resurrection of Jesus is meaningless; hope defined as resurrection life in the Kingdom of God at the cost of the cross will not disappoint.

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