Nothing but the gospel gives us hope. Upon reading Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church, that hope stands strong, because it resides in Jesus. Here is what Paul writes,
Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, ‘I believed and so I spoke,’ we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into His presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as the grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 4:13-15
Notice several truths Paul highlights in this very compact declaration of the gospel:
- His faith rests on the word of God. He notes, “Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what is written…” Nothing but the gospel offers hope because that hope finds its source in the One who revealed Himself to us in Jesus. Faith looks to Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) and nowhere else. Many claim that faith can claim presence with God with other means (pluralism). However, that claim surfaces from and rests with man and not with God. As such, it offers not hope.
- Faith gives motivation to boldly declare the gospel of hope. Paul says, “I believed and so I spoke…” Spoke what? The gospel of salvation! Our faith rests in historical reality. That is, God actually did come in the form of the man Jesus as God promised. We trust in a righteous God who keeps His promises, and this gives us assurance and boldness to speak the gospel.
- Not only did Jesus come in the form of a baby and interacted with His fellow men and women, but He died, was buried, and rose from the death. Overwhelming testimony shows this to be historical fact. Some try to separate history from faith by claiming that truth does not need to rely on fact. This is post-modern wishful thinking. Truth not supported by fact is faith in a lie and fiction. Since Jesus really did rise from the dead, our faith gives us the hope of being with God when we also die.
Such wonderful truths enable us to live confidently and hopefully in the return of Jesus. Review 4:14 again. Paul declares that God will keep His promise of a resurrection for us, also. He says Jesus will “bring us with you in His presence.” Our faith rests in real hope and not in one that aspirates, “I hope so.” That is not hope but wishful thinking. Stand firm.
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