Please go slowly over these passages, or you will miss the power of them.
2 Part Study by David Niednagel, Pastor and Teacher, Evansville, IN. (David uses the S.O.A.P. method for his morning study and devotional time: study, observe, apply, pray).
Even in the OT the Jews had confidence in a future resurrection.
In Acts 2:26-28 Peter quoted David in Ps 16:
“Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope, 27 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, you will not let your holy one see decay. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.
David had a confident expectation of resurrection.
Acts 23:6 Paul, speaking as a Pharisee said “I am on trial because of the hope of the Resurrection” See also Acts 24:15; 26:6, 7; 28:20.
The Pharisees had confidence in the Resurrection, but the Sadducees did not.
Rom 4:18 “Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!”
Amazing. He knew he and Sarah were past child-bearing years. He had no confidence that he and Sarah could have a baby, but he chose to believe that they would because of God’s promise. This is the basis for all our hope.
But Paul said that hope is not available to everyone, but only to those who understand who Christ is and what He has accomplished. Speaking to the Gentiles in the church he said:
Eph 2:12 “Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, … without hope and without God in the world.”
Humans cannot live without hope – of some kind. The Gentiles had the same hope as everyone else of food, shelter, love, etc, but they did not have the hope, the confident expectation of eternal life. They had their many religions, but they did not have God – Yahweh – the Creator and Savior. Only through Him is there hope of eternal life. Why do I say that? There are two key verses:
1Pet 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power …”
Christians believe the basis for our hope of eternal life is 100% because of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus for us – that He paid the penalty of our sin and guilt, and that the Father raised Him to prove that He accepted Jesus’ death on our behalf. We have a living hope!
Titus 2:13 “we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”
Our hope is not only based on Jesus’ resurrection, but that He is coming back to raise us too. Our blessed hope is that because Jesus died for us, and was raised to prove all that He promised, that He is our Great God and Savior! We can have confidence that He will keep the remainder of His promises and return for us. He will bring judgment on wickedness, and deliverance for all who have trusted in HIm. That assurance/hope could not come from keeping the Law so Heb 7:19 says “the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
Peter says the same thing in 1Pet 1:13 “set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
His coming again is the fulfillment of our hope. Our hope is not in our health, our economy, our politics or government. It is that Jesus conquered death and will come again to take us to be with Himself.
Paul demonstrated this in 2Cor 1:8-10 “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.”
Their hope was not that God would protect them from death, but that He would raise them from the dead. And that is our hope as well – not the improvement of our circumstances on earth, but that He is Lord of time and eternity. Jesus said “In this world you will have trouble/tribulation, but take heart, I have overcome the world!” (Jn 16:33)
Lord Jesus, You understand that we wish our world would get better – that there would be peace, that we would enjoy health, families – but we understand the consequences of sin from Adam and Eve, from millions of others, and our own sin too. Our world is broken and pain is everywhere, but I praise You that we can take heart that You have overcome the world. When You return there will be no more pain, crying, mourning or death. (Rev 21:3-5) Our hope is for longer than short term improvement of circumstances. Our hope is for all eternity, because You live forever and will raise us to be with You forever! We praise You! Amen!