REMEMBER THAT YOU HAVE HOPE, EVEN AFTER CHRISTMAS

REMEMBER THAT YOU HAVE HOPE, EVEN AFTER CHRISTMAS

Even though it’s still a month away, Christmas is in the air, isn’t it? Everywhere you look, decorations are going up, pines are coming down; and when you look at our children’s faces, there is an expectant look of hope. They want their presents.

But what about us? Christmas is the season for hope, joy and goodwill to men. And in our heads, we know that because Christ has come, has died, has redeemed us from sin and is sitting at the Father’s right hand, making intercession for us and doing for us all the good that we ask for and need; we can have hope. But how many of us face each new day with hope in our hearts?

Well, beloved, if you are feeling a little hope-less, if you are dragging your feet around your seemingly dreary life, today’s word is just for you. So let us come and feed from the Word of God, the Bread of Life and let Him lift us up in this season.

In Romans, Paul tells us,

“Such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us, because God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5 [AMP]

Our hope in God’s promises, our hope that He will deliver, is not like our hope in our bosses for our promotion, nor hope in our politicians that our lives will improve when they are in power. For as well-meaning as they all are, we know that they are fallible, as we all are, as our children know we are. No beloved, our hope in our Father’s promises is more sure than the trust that we place in our paperboy, our milkman or even our mailman, because our hope is founded on sterner stuff, on our Father’s love which has been ‘abundantly poured out within our hearts’.

But at the same time, Paul also points to a specific kind of hope, ‘such hope’. He seems to suggest that our hope in our Father should come from a different reasoning than the hope we have in other people and things. So what exactly is ‘such hope’?

“Through Him we also have access by faith into this [remarkable state of] grace in which we [firmly and safely and securely] stand. Let us rejoice in our hope and the confident assurance of [experiencing and enjoying] the glory of [our great] God [the manifestation of His excellence and power].” Romans 5:2 [AMP]

Our hope is founded on the fact that because of Jesus’ redeeming work, we have access, by our faith, into grace, into the firm, safe and secure position which gives us the confident assurance of experiencing and enjoying the glory of our Father. This means that apart from our having faith in Jesus, our confident assurance of experiencing and enjoying the glory of our Father is not dependent on our actions. Now, this is significant, so have a little think through with me.

If you want a present from Santa Claus, you’ve got to be nice all year round, don’t you? That’s why, right about this time, he’s making a list and checking it twice, trying to find out who’s naughty and nice. If your children want a present from you, you make them earn it by being good. And we all know that if we want a raise or a promotion, we’ve got to play nice with the bosses and hit our targets. There’s always a price to pay for hope in this world.

But our hope in Jesus is different. For our access to our Father’s love and riches is not founded upon our actions; our access comes ‘through Him’, through Christ, and all that He has done for us. So the reason why we have hope is because Jesus has already given us full and complete access to our Father.

“And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation].” Romans 5:3-4 [AMP]

Yes, indeed. The difficult situation that we find ourselves in, the one that we need hope to get out of, that situation is not without its purpose. Our suffering is not without reason. For out of our troubles come maturity, proven character, confident assurance of salvation and, there’s that word again, hope.

Now, how would you know that God loves you, that He will protect and provide for you, unless there was a situation in which you needed protection and provision? So each and every difficult situation is the perfect opportunity for our Father to flex His muscles, and show you, and all who are looking in to your situation, the extent of His power and love for you. And these episodes go further to reinforce our confidence that should troubles come again, we can rely on our Father.

I mean think about it, if you had someone repeatedly rescue you from bad situations, wouldn’t you develop an expectation that he will do it again, the next time a bad situation comes around? So why would it be any different with our Father?

From here we can see that our hope in our Father’s deliverance is really a lot simpler to exercise than hope even in our fellow man. For unlike hope in anyone or anything else, hope in our Father needs nothing from us, except faith.

But why is that the case? Why don’t we need to earn our hope in God? Well, beloved, I’m glad you asked. You see,

“While we were still helpless [powerless to provide for our salvation], at the right time Christ died [as a substitute] for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6 [AMP]

We don’t need to because we cannot. Think about this logically. If you have broken the trust of your parents, spouse or friend; what can you do to make it up to them? What can you give them that can comprehensively mend that trust? ‘I’ll never do it again’ doesn’t quite cut it, does it? Because it takes time to prove. And why should they give you time to prove yourself? Tough one, isn’t it?

Now extrapolate that to God. Tried keeping the law of Moses lately? Not easy, is it? With every slip, you sin against God. And what can you give God or do for God that can comprehensively mend that trust? ‘I’ll never do it again’ doesn’t even apply this time, because He knows, even better than you do, that you most certainly will ‘do it again’ and He can even tell you when.

So because we were helpless to earn hope with God,

“But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 [AMP]

Now, don’t skim over the fact that Christ died for us, because that is the crux of the situation, because

“Therefore, since we have now been justified [declared free of the guilt of sin] by His blood, [how much more certain is it that] we will be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, it is much more certain, having been reconciled, that we will be saved [from the consequences of sin] by His life [that is, we will be saved because Christ lives today].” Romans 5:9-10[AMP]

God could have let you rot in your abyss of sin but His love for you didn’t allow it. And this Christmas season is a celebration of His love, because it is this time that we remember that Jesus was sent to pay the price for our right standing with our Father.

But you see, it doesn’t just stop there. It gets even better, because, Jesus didn’t just come to save us from God’s wrath,

“I come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

“Therefore, since we have been justified [that is, acquitted of sin, declared blameless before God] by faith, [let us grasp the fact that] we have peace with God [and the joy of reconciliation with Him] through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed).” Romans 5:1 [AMP]

Beloved, Christmas is the season that reminds us of our hope in God;

“Such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us, because God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5 [AMP]

But this hope is not seasonal. It holds true for us in this season and every other season. For it was not founded upon the fallible actions of man, but the perfect sacrifice of Jesus. And if you have never received the effects of Jesus sacrifice for your life and you would like to now, then say this to Him.

“Jesus, thank You for being my sacrifice because I was unable. Thank You for loving me so much that you would purchase my redemption for me even before I believed in You. I know that by Your blood shed, I have received full remission of all my sins. I know that by Your death, sin has lost its hold on me. And because I now believe, I can begin to live a life that is free from all my bad habits and practices. But Jesus, I know that redemption not only gives me right standing with God our Father. It also gives me an unshakable hope because now I have full access to His love. So I walk daily in the knowledge that no matter what may befall me, our Father’s love will always see me through. Amen.”

Beloved child of God, hope in our Father never disappoints, because His love for you never changes. Hold on to His love and have a positive expectation of good in this season and every other season that follows, knowing that He “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us”. Ephesians 3:20

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