Hope is what directs our footsteps toward our heavenly goal. It drives our faith and our service. I Peter 3:15 encourages us to be able to answer for the hope within us, encouraging us that we must be living as if we do indeed have hope, a hope others will see in us. In Titus 2:13 tells us we should be looking forward to a hope of glory. Our hope is an earnest expectation, a desire whose realization we earnestly wait.
A Confident Hope
Addressing those who did not believe in the resurrection, Paul writes in I Corinthians 15:13-19 that Christ’s own resurrections serves as a foundation for the hope we have in our own. This hope is more than a vague notion. It is something exercised in our faith and our service to God, driving that faith and being reinforced by faith in turn. According to Galatians 5:5, this hope is something we should be eagerly awaiting.
Hebrews 12:1 assures us with a great cloud of witnesses that we can reach for our hope, just as Jesus did in his own lifetime. Hebrews 6:1 encourages us to press on toward our completion, and verses 17-19 reminds us that God has promised us, has sworn to us, that our hope is real and attainable. Our hope in Heaven is not something abstract or fantastical. It is a real hope. It is something in which we can place confidence.
Images of Our Hope
In Revelation 21-22, John sees three pictures of Heaven in his vision. Beginning in verses 1-5, John sees a holy land with the gulf of separation between man and God forever removed. It is pictured as a place of joy and life. It is a tabernacle, the dwelling place of God. It is a place where God lives with His created in perfect fellowship.
Then, verses 9-27 picture a new city, an emblem of perfect protection for God’s people. He describes the beauty and majesty of the city, the strength of its walls and gates, the security of its foundations. This is a city no man can siege or overtake. The gates are pictured as pearls, objects of beauty created in pain just as our hope may cause us to face pain ourselves before we can enter those gates.
Finally, Revelation 22:1-5 describes a tree of life surrounding a life-giving river. It is an image of a garden. It provides perfect provision for God’s people. This is a picture that returns to the beginning – to Eden. The curse of sin is gone. There is no darkness, no pain, and no sorrow. It is a place filled with the light of God’s love.
The tabernacle provides perfect fellowship. The city offers perfect protection. The garden provides perfect provision. Our hope is one where God provides for our every need and where we live with Him in eternity for all eternity. In contrast to those of Ephesians 2:12 who have no hope, we can be made near to God in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (verse 13). He invites us to draw near in Him. He offers us a hope that this world could never equal. Will you accept the gift of that hope?
lesson by Tim Smelser