Our Hope

As there is but one Lord and one faith, so God has given but one hope for the believer: Christ (see 1 Tim. 1: 1). But what, practically, does this mean? What are many Christians looking for? Often it is only going to be with Christ when they die. God forbid that I say one word to weaken the importance of that precious truth, but it is not the Christian hope. Blessed as falling asleep through Jesus is (see 1 Thess. 4: 14; 2 Cor. 5: 8), and far better than continuing here in the sorrows and failures of this world , it is not our hope as God speaks of it. The Christian hope is not our going to be with the Lord (see Phil. 1: 23), but the Lord coming from heaven for us, that we may be caught up to be ever with Him (see 1 Thess. 4: 17). Perhaps you think that it makes no difference which it is, for either way it will be well with you. Is this your only consideration? Are our thoughts to be limited to the horizon of our own well–being? You suppose that there is, practically, no difference between departure with Christ and being caught up to Him—that it is but a small matter whether it be an individual going to Christ, or Christ coming for His saints. In short, you think that, after sin and the salvation of the soul are settled, nothing much else matters. What poverty of thought! Blessed as it is, to die in the Lord is a most imperfect state, for the body of the departed saint lies corrupting in the ground. But there is a day coming when spirits and bodies will be reunited, and “the dead shall be raised incorruptible” and those living at that moment “shall be changed” (1 Cor. 15: 52). It is then and then only that “as we have borne the image of the [one] made of dust” so “we shall bear also the image of the heavenly [one]” (v49), and “we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3: 2).  Thus we do not look for death (even if at death’s door), but for the coming of “the Lord Himself” (1 Thess. 4: 16), for “our commonwealth has its existence in [the] heavens, from which also we await the Lord Jesus Christ [as] Saviour, who shall transform our body of humiliation into conformity to his body of glory” (Phil. 3: 20, 21; see 2 Cor. 5: 4). God has not left it to us to decide what our proper hope is. It is to “meet the Lord in [the] air” for we “await” God’s “Son from the heavens” (1 Thess. 4: 17; 1: 10).