Christian Hope

The Blueprint studies by Matthias Media on Christian doctrine are excellent.  In paper 9 it speaks of “godly heresies”.  These are Christian teachings that are false (heresy), but arise from godly desires.

It is godly to desire that all people be saved.  Universalism however is a heresy.  The Bible teaches clearly that not all people will be saved, but only those who trust in Jesus.  It is also a godly desire to want an end to sickness, or an end to injustice, or poverty, or sin.  However, we will not have perfect health in this life, or perfect justice, or perfect prosperity, or sinless perfection.

Each of these godly desires has given rise to heresies within the church, such as the prosperity gospel or sinless perfectionism.  Then there are ministries that can lose sight of the gospel by placing all their emphasis on healing or social justice.

For Christians who are involved in these ministries they would no doubt assert that they believe in the return of Jesus.  What Christian would say that they don’t believe in the return of Jesus?  However, in practice they do not believe it.  For a belief in the return of Jesus means that our Christian hope for sinless perfection, justice, prosperity, and health are deferred from this life to the life to come.  We eagerly await the return of Jesus because such things as these will be ours when he comes again.

In this life Christians suffer.  We take up our cross and deny ourselves and follow Jesus ().  We may enjoy a measure of health, wealth, justice and godliness now.  However it is not until the return of Jesus that these things will be ours in perfection.  Chasing after such things now may unwittingly be a denial of the return of Jesus.  As Christians we should be looking in hope to the return of Jesus when these things will be ours.

Christian hope is hope for what we do not yet have ().  Yet we look forward to it eagerly at the coming of Jesus again.  Then there will be no more sin; no more injustice; no more poverty; and no more sickness.

Come Lord Jesus.

34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

6 thoughts on “Christian Hope”

  1. Well explained Martin. There are many who promote Dominion Theology nowdays which appears to say that Christians are Christ manifested in the earth. In its most extreme form it appears to do away with the need for Christ’s return as the 2nd coming is redefined as Christ appearing in His people. This can be a pretty scary belief system actually. What are your thoughts on it?

  2. Lyn, do you mean people who want society to live by OT laws today; or a charismatic theology of us claiming dominion over Satan’s territory, etc?

  3. the latter I think Martin. That’s the one I’ve been exposed to years ago which can include the Latter Rain Movement and Manifested Sons of God beliefs of certain Pentecostals and/or Charismatics. There seems to be a link up with the renewal, rather than destruction, of the earth thinking of NT Wright & Lesslie Newbigin. Let me know if you think there’s a link. It all dovetails into the idea nowdays in postmodern Christian circles of changing things on this earth so that everyone lives in harmony, peace and equality.

  4. Yes, I think you are right, Lyn. This is all basically from an over-realised eschatology: bringing forward to NOW what we should only expect at Jesus’ return. Such things may indeed happen now, but that is up to God, not us, and there is no expectation that it will. Our expectation now is one of suffering and denying ourselves, while being blessed and protected by God in terms of our faith and being brought safely into heaven. I also think that such movements are probably giving way too much credence to the devil, ironically. Jesus’ death has defeated the devil. He no longer has power over us (). We ‘merely’ trust in Jesus, resist the devil, and he flees. Jesus is Lord, not the devil! Spiritual warfare consists in combating the devil’s lies with the truth and standing firm in the face of persecution.

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