The answer to the title of this article may seem obvious, however, it is not always so! Not all Christians are actually living a life that pleases Christ.
While having christian parents is enough to be called ‘christian’, it takes more than just being born in a Christian family to be on the side of Christ. The lines are way thinner than we imagine.
Once Jesus’ mother and brothers were waiting to meet Him standing outside a house and this news was brought to Jesus. He immediately looked at the crowd in front of Him, who filled that house, and said ‘who is my mother, and who are my brother’s?’ (Matthew 12:48)
I believe, it would have left the audience of Jesus completely baffled. If we were to make the same statement to our parents and siblings today, we would be calling for deep trouble! Yet Jesus did it, because his standards were different and His teachings were tough.
Jesus went against traditions, culture and expectations of His people and time. He gave the place of a mother, brother and sister to those who did the ‘will of God’, over his own blood related family. So if Jesus questioned His own family, would he spare you and me if we don’t believe in Him and do His will, just because our parents are christians?
“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Matthew 12:30
Being spiritually passive is a state where one chooses to be inactive in the affairs of the kingdom of God, often accompanied by reasoning such as ‘there is already too much on my plate’, ‘let me work hard now and when I retire I will serve Christ’, ‘am busy trying to hold everything together’, ‘if I don’t work, how will I feed my family’, ‘it’s a clergy job’. This is a very dangerous state to be in.
Jesus gave the place of a mother, brother and sister to those who did the ‘will of God’, over his own blood related family.
When God made us a new creation, He made us for a purpose with a heavenly mandate to be His ambassadors on earth. Not fulfilling or, for that matter, neglecting such a calling not only makes us disobedient to God but destroys the very work of Christ. And Jesus said, these are the people who are against Him!
In a world where everyone likes to play safe, Christ made the lines quite clear and expects us to choose the kind of life that abides by the law of Christ.
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Looking at all that has happened due to Covid-19, if you are reading this blog now – kudos to your perseverance! Who would have thought that something as small as a microorganism can be so deadly and devour so many lives? It is not only the body that the virus affects but also man’s soul (emotions and thinking). What many have lost, together with losing their many loved ones, is ‘hope’ – which is something that gives strength to individuals to cope through sorrow and distress. One finds it hard to press on forward with confidence, because of all the fatal blows he has received in life.
Yet, despite turmoil and suffering, those who hope in Christ remain strong.
The hope that the Bible promises is complete, concrete and reassuring.
This may sound strange. But let us first look at what is not hope according to Bible –
Biblical hope is not mere positive thinking. If it was so, then it is hard to encourage oneself especially when one is shattered and depressed. In times of difficulty, we need external reassuring help which is only found in the bible.
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”… For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Romans 8:26 (NIV)
Biblical hope is not a dream, either. Dreams may or may not come true, especially considering the financial, emotional, mental exhaustion that occurs during illness or loss. Biblical hope offers us the true solution based on reality. So we need to be more realistic as we look for hope.
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32 (NIV)
Biblical hope is not just for riches, jobs and good health on earth. The truth is God wants us to hope for what is eternal because if one gets everything on earth, then there is nothing more to hope for. Biblical hope is weightier than earthly possessions. Rom 8:24
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:24-25 (NIV)
The hope that Bible promises is complete, concrete and reassuring.
Let’s take a look at this verse, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27 (NKJV)
True hope is foolishness to people who are not in Christ, but for us who believe – it gives power to face every challenge with boldness.
First of all, hope is based in Christ. You can tap into this hope by receiving Christ into your hearts. Secondly, it is a hope of glory, i.e, a heavenly inheritance, glorious riches, glorious bodies, a peaceful state in eternal dibs. Thirdly, it is for those to whom it has been made known. Till date, this true hope remains a mystery for many. It is foolishness to people who are not in Christ, but for us who believe – it gives power to face every challenge with boldness.
What really anchors a believer’s hope? What makes it unshakeable and true?
1. Jesus Christ, our forerunner
“…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV)
True hope springs from the message of Christ. Because Jesus, left His heavenly splendour with all its powers and became nothing, a human being. He took the path of suffering, pain, the cross and, most importantly, took the place of us sinners being punished for our transgressions. He defeated death, received a rich welcome and sat on the heavenly throne next to the father and will sit as a judge of both the living and the dead. So, for a sinner who hopes in Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, there is no fear of being let down by Jesus. He himself continues to live to intercede for our salvation, just as He did for Peter.
2. Covenant promises by the Father
For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.
Hebrews 8:12-13 (NIV)
God has promised, through the new covenant, to be merciful for our unrighteousness and remember our sins no more. We know, these promises were not spoken by God in haste. Unlike us humans who conveniently lie, yahwah – God – is absolutely faithful. The whole Bible in itself proves this truth. The life of Israelites, Abraham and David are the best examples. The word of God boosts our confidence. We can rest assured that all our efforts in the Lord and for the Lord won’t be in vain but will result in better promises. And the greatest promise is that we will be co-heirs with Christ in his inheritance.
3. Holy Spirit, as a seal
Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
2 Corinthians 5:5 (NKJV)
As we speak of hope, we cannot do so without talking about the presence of the Holy Spirit in us, who is an assurance of what is to come for those who believe in Jesus Christ. He continues to live to reveal the heart and mind of God to us. But, most importantly, He is a guarantee of what is to come. Just as in the case of a betrothal, the man commits and assures the girl’s family that he is going to come back to take her to be his wife.
Holy Spirit continuously prompts you to lead you into all truth, convicting you of His righteousness. He provides life and power to our mortal bodies giving us hope, just as He exerted power in Christ Jesus, when He raised Him from the dead and brought Him to life.
For believers in Christ today, ‘hope’ for tomorrow is not just sympathy shown by God, it is a prerogative.
Paul says in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NKJV)
So, for believers in Christ today, ‘hope’ for tomorrow is not just sympathy shown by God, it is a prerogative. It is an entitlement which God himself has given through Jesus. Our hope is secured and anchored in Christ and by God himself because nothing can separate us from love of God that is in Christ. So we boast all the more in our hope. Because this hope will not put us to shame or result in disappointment.
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