“...in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began...(Titus 1:2, NKJV)
“Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).
Paul opened his letter to Titus in hope; he closed his last letter to Timothy with the same hope, knowing that the time of his departure was at hand. Paul indeed lived his life in just this way and was preparing to die just this way—in hope.
The message of the gospel is the message of hope. Hope for a better day when sin and evil have been dealt with permanently by a holy God. Hope of relief from the intense pressure of suffering that we see and experience every day, all of which has its origin in sin and evil. Hope for deliverance from the curse of death, its power, and its fear.
Hope for life in perfect harmony with our God, and with His Son, and His Spirit. There is nothing any longer to separate us or to defile ourselves with. Hope that we shall see the King someday, not in fear but in love and joy.
Hope for a day when people are reconciled to God and one another. Hope for when swords are beaten into plowshares when wars are no longer known.
Hope for a home, a place in the house of God, a spot in His city made without hands, a seat at His banquet table, a room in His mansion.
And hope life does not end in a cold grave on a lonely hill.
The Christian message, the gospel, is unique in the hope that it offers. Search, if you will, but you will not find any man-made religion that carries such hope. One of the shining truths is this, in the words of the old song: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” It is not a hope rooted in ourselves, our moral goodness, our generosity, or our holiness. It is a hope rooted in our Savior—His goodness, generosity, and holiness, in the power of His blood, and in the faithfulness of our God. Indeed, He did promise eternal life, and indeed, He cannot lie, so our hope is a confident expectation that our Father will do just as He promised.
Thus, we, like Paul, can live and die in hope. A strong hope, an anchor for the soul, sure and steadfast. A hope that does not need to waver and isn’t threatened by war, cruelty, oppression, tragedy, or even death.
Jesus promised His disciples: “I will see you again” (John 16:22). He made it on the eve of His arrest, in the upper room, before they went to the garden. And come that Sunday, He kept His promise. He did see them again. And by the power of that resurrected life, we
look for our loved ones in Christ in full hope that we, too, shall see them again. As God’s people, we stand side by side today in hope. Let us worship our God this morning in that hope.