Thursday, July 14, 2011

July 14, 2011 … Anticipation of Christ’s Return

Passage of the Day: 1st John 3: 2 – 3 … 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

My Journal for Today: As a professed believer in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, do you have a longing for His return as He, Himself promised in Scripture? Do you have a longing to be ready for His return (i.e., allowing the Holy Spirit to help you grow in His image of purity)? If you do, here is another strong criterion from God’s Spirit, through the Apostle John in today’s highlighted verse, that you have confidence in your salvation. That confidence comes from the hope we have, as faithful disciples and followers of Jesus Christ, as our passage for today delineates.

Think about it. It’s not “natural” for a human to hold on to a hope of something that is promised, but cannot be seen, touched, or sensed in the here-and-now. Therefore, it’s “supernatural” to have this hope in one’s heart; and that supernatural longing is one of the signal posts of our salvation. John MacArthur, in today’s devotional entry in Strength for Today, posits that this hope, giving us more assurance of our salvation, comes in three components …

First, it is a SAVING HOPE. The Apostle Paul comes behind John by writing that true Christians long to be set free from their bodies of death (i.e., sin nature) as we read in Romans 7: 22, waiting to be fully adopted as Christ’s heir (see Rom. 8: 23), and to be outfitted with a new resurrection body (see 1st Cor. 15: 49). Do you hope for that? I sure do; and God’s word is saying that that is a SAVING HOPE that all real Christians have.

Secondly, MacArthur posits that our hope is a SANCTIFYING HOPE, as read above in 1st John 3: 3. As true believers in Christ, our hope in Him drives us to be pure “just as He is pure.” The Apostle Paul also taught this the early church – and you and me by extension (see Titus 2: 11- 13) - that Christians are to deny our ungodliness and to live righteously. Any desire to do so, also being unnatural, is a sanctifying hope of our salvation.

And finally, MacArthur says that our hope is a SENSIBLE HOPE, because it leads to careful and upright living. Paul, again teaching to believers, pointed to this logical outcome of our faith in 2nd Thessalonians 3: 6 – 15 [please read this as linked for your study], with Christians exhorted to live productive, kingdom oriented lives. And when Christians do so just that, they experience the fruit of God’s Spirit in their lives (see Gal. 5: 22 – 23), which is certainly a confirming outcome to the hope we have in Christ.

So, when you find yourself longing for the hope that we have in Christ, praise God and thank Him for giving you yet another sign-post that your are one of His and than one day you will live with Him and be like Him in glory (see Phil. 3: 21).

My Prayer Today: You are my hope, Lord! Amen

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