Do not shrink back

While social media posts usually receive a quick perusal at best, I find some draw me in or require a response. Since I didn’t want to “start something” on my friend’s post,(actually I did post one response), I have been thinking a lot about it. Several questions were asked:

Is there a God? I don’t know for certain, yet I worship. Does Jesus save us from sin? I don’t know for certain, yet I ask him for forgiveness. Does prayer heal people or change a bad circumstance for good? I do not know for certain, yet I pray anyway. Does the Bible hold all truth? I do not know for certain, yet I meditate on its words. But what is life without hope? It would be meaningless. That I know for certain.

Maybe now your forehead is wrinkled as mine was…wanting to understand what was behind the post. I sat on it a couple of days before the thoughts came together.

What is life without hope? This seems to be the thing he clings to. We must have hope, or life would be meaningless. With that, I do agree. But can meaningful hope be in something of which I am not certain?

I can hope my car will run — It usually does, but one cannot foresee a breakdown or accident.

I can hope I live to a ripe, old age — but there is no guarantee.

I can hope I’ll do well on a test — but if the teacher throws in a trick question, I may not pass.

This is the hope of the world — hope based on what might happen or what we expect to happen. The missing element is assurance.

Though hope is in something unseen, it does not have to be in something uncertain. Our hope is based in the certainty of Jesus Christ, who came, died and rose again, that we might know salvation and the sure hope of eternal life. Hebrews 6:19 reads:

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf.

The great 11th chapter of Hebrews talks about the men and women of faith; a faith that was sure of what they hoped for and certain of what they had not seen. It did not mean that just because they had not seen God, he did not exist. Theirs was a hope based on knowing, hearing from, and experiencing God in amazing ways, despite troubles, wanderings, persecution, hunger and imprisonment. Theirs was a confident hope in a trustworthy God. They believed his word, because it was true and trustworthy.

The writer of Hebrews was speaking to Christ followers who were not only experiencing persecution, but were surrounded by false doctrine and worldly teaching. For this reason, just before chapter 11 begins, he writes:

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he promised. For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him. But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.

If I call myself a Christian and yet am not certain of the one I claim to follow, then do I have the faith that saves? We all go through times of doubt and struggle, but in the end, we must hold on to the truth of God’s Word, the fact of the Incarnate Christ, and the hope of His return.

In these days of harshness and ridicule, it is tempting to shrink back and become one of the crowd, but we should keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, and

consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that [we] do not grow weary and lose heart. 

Are you a shrink-wrapped Christian or a confident, hopeful follower of Jesus?

Grace and Peace

Image Credit Flickr User centralasian

 


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