Monday, November 23, 2015

“A Good Hope”

The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…

"A Good Hope"

    "Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work" (II Thessalonians 2:16-17).

    "Good hope through grace" leads to "every good word and work."  The human heart must have an expectation regarding the future in order to successfully navigate the course of the present.    

    We recently discussed this truth with a dear friend whose daughter presently suffers the consequences of numerous bad choices that have led her to the brink - and beyond - of destruction.  Among many other aspects of redemption through Christ, Frances and I assured our friend that we would ask God to reveal His hope to her daughter.  Can the future be different?  Can it be brighter?  Is there a reason to believe that tomorrow can be other than today?  Only the Lord Jesus can bestow such good hope, and thankfully, He does so through grace.  Like every member of the human race, our friend's daughter does not deserve such an expectation.  She made her own bed of despair, and according to the adage, should have to lie on it.  According to the Gospel, however, the Lord Jesus approached a cross He did not make, and hung on it.  Thereupon He died not for His own sins, of which He had none.  He rather gave His life for us in order to save us from our deserved consequences.  Mercy flows from the wounds of His sacrifice, and in the wonder of grace, "good hope".  Moreover, such hope received and embraced elicits motivation to live this day and this moment in a manner that honors the One who bore His undeserved cross of agony in order to deliver us from our deserved bed of shame.

    "One of the malefactors which were hanged railed on Him, saying, If thou be Christ, save Thyself and us.  But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise" (Luke 23:39-43).

   Neither thief had any basis upon which to seek hope.  One mocked the possibility that the Lord Jesus could provide an expectation of salvation.  The other, however, acknowledged both the worthiness of Christ, while confessing his own unworthiness.  He also believed that the dying Man who hung beside him would somehow be crowned as a king after the ignominy of the cross.  He believed in the Lord's resurrection, the hope of the ages, and the hope of the thief's dying moments.  The Lord Jesus promised Paradise to the man whose had wasted his entire life, save his last moments when the wondrous grace of God bestowed upon him innumerable moments of eternity in the presence of God.  This is indeed a "good hope"!  A certain hope!  An undeserved hope!  And for the thief, a presently realized hope as he honors his Redeemer in this Heavenly moment.  I know you join me in prayer for the young lady mentioned, and for so many in each of our lives who must see the Savior hanging upon the cross He did not make in order to save us from bed of destruction we all have made for ourselves, but upon which our blessed Lord desires that we should not lie.  

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit,  which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."
(Titus 3:5-7)

Weekly Memory Verse
    This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
(Titus 3:8)

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