Is there any hope?

The Gospel brings Hope

If we are all as messed up as the Bible teaches, we’re pretty much hopeless.   But the Gospel is an offer of fixing things – especially relationships.   It starts with the divine level – sorting out our relationship with God.  It addresses the main problem we have – a God who has been wronged by sinful men and women.

The Gospel is that God himself took the initiative to repair things between us, sending his Son into the world, taking on the form of a man, who we know as Jesus.   Jesus then lived the perfect life – finding his deepest sense of purpose in God his Father, obeying perfectly all his commands.   And then, at the end of that life, he died an undeserved death – taking on himself the consequences of his people’s failure; sacrificing himself as an offering to pay for our failure.   He lived for us the life we could not live, and died for us the death we deserve to, but dare not die.

The Gospel sorts out our inter-personal failures too.   God’s grace teaches us how to live gracious lives right now – making a change in how we live in community together.   The Gospel reaches into us, rewiring us to live willingly sacrificial lives for the good of others.   That’s why a Gospel church offers hope for its community – as the Bible teaches us, Gospel people act as salt, preserving their communities from slipping into the chaos of self-centred-ness.

The Gospel also changes our inward view of self.   It gives us a purpose, a deep sense of meaning and delight.   That doesn’t mean Christians don’t struggle with depression, guilt, or temptation – but it does give us a reason for fighting.   If God loves us, and our desire is to love him, please him and delight in him, then we have a clear sense of hope in the daily struggle to have right view of self.

The Gospel offers hope because at these levels it brings renewal.   According to the Bible, people who are changed by the Gospel have received new life.   That new life reaches it’s pinnacle in the Resurrection of Jesus.   Having died for our sins, Jesus was raised to life as the ultimate mark of vindication by the Father.   God, who had been wronged, was pleased to accept the death of Jesus as the only sacrifice to atone for sin, and so could not allow him to remain dead.   This first resurrection is only the beginning, and Gospel believing Christians fully expect to one day share in that physical, bodily resurrection, while already experience the beginnings of that renewal right now.   At that future point, the hopelessness of this world will be gone – no more the wreaked relationship with God, no more the hurt and pain of marred relationships with others, and no more the flawed and destructive view of self.

Part 3: So what do you need to do to gain this hope?