A people of hope

The world around us seems to be devoid of hope. In Great Britain many are worried about leaving the European Union – after all, for most people, this is all they have known. ISIS continues to cause people around the world to worry, as well as the unstable situation in Korea. People worry about what is ahead of them in life. Perhaps the problem is that they see this life as all there is.

When Paul wrote to the Christians in Thessalonica, we find Christians who were worried about the Christians who had already died. Paul wrote, “Now we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13 NET). Continue reading “A people of hope”

Our imperishable inheritance

“The people of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, received their inheritance” (Joshua 16:4 ESV).

After conquering much of the land of Canaan, the land was divided between the tribes of Israel. This was to be their inheritance. Reuben, Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh had already received their inheritance, their land, on the east of the Jordan in the lands they conquered before entering Canaan. In return for receiving their inheritance early, they had to lead the army as they conquered the Promised Land. Continue reading “Our imperishable inheritance”

Promises and blessings

God had set the Israelites free from being slaves of the Egyptians. As they camped at Mount Sinai, they were being formed into an orderly nation. As we will see from the census in Numbers 1, there were over 600,000 men, aged 20 and over, who were able to go to war. Conservative estimates, taking into account that there are generally more females born than males, plus the elderly who couldn’t bear arms, those under 20, and the tribe of Levi, would give a nation of at least two to three million people. That would place them around the same size as Lithuania, Nambia or Slovenia today. But they did not yet have land and were living in tents in the wilderness.

To prepare this new nation to enter the Promised Land, God made promises to them. These were conditional on their obedience and living by the commands he gave them. And for a budding nation, these were quite powerful promises. Continue reading “Promises and blessings”

The ultimate goal: Eternal life

A person’s greatest possession is eternal life, exactly because it is more than a possession, but very existence. More than quantity, more than longevity, it is by nature the essence of Being.

Eternal life consists of knowing the true God and his Son Jesus Christ. “Now this is eternal life—that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent” Jn 17.3. Continue reading “The ultimate goal: Eternal life”

What will eternal life be like?

“Now some Sadducees (who contend that there is no resurrection) came to him. They asked him, ‘Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies leaving a wife but no children, that man must marry the widow and father children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died without children. The second and then the third married her, and in this same way all seven died, leaving no children. Finally the woman died too. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For all seven had married her’” (Luke 20:27-33 NET).

During the last week of his life before his crucifixion, Jesus spent time teaching the people. The Jewish authorities were desperate to trap him in something that he was saying to discredit him with the people. On this particular day the Pharisees began by asking about paying taxes. Jesus gave an answer that impressed those who were there. Continue reading “What will eternal life be like?”

Reserved

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4 NKJV).

When I purchase airline tickets, I prefer to confirm my seats for each leg of the flight as quickly as possible. I like aisle seats, near the front of the cabin, and those are usually the first ones to be taken. If I wait until I check in for the flight, it is very likely that I will not get what I prefer. Continue reading “Reserved”

The only real choice we have

A hopeless philosopher once wrote that the only real choice we have is to kill ourselves or not. This is a philosophy of despair.

Albert Camus believed that life is absurd and makes no sense. As an atheist, he saw the contradictions and suffering. Still, he clung to the will to live, a philosophical version of the shallow sentiment of the song, “Don’t worry, be happy.”

In one sense, however, Camus was exactly right. The only real choice is to embrace death or cling to life. But for those who believe in Jesus Christ, the apparently simple choice holds a paradox. Continue reading “The only real choice we have”

Freed to be a slave

“But thanks be to God that though you were slaves to sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were entrusted to, and having been freed from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness” (Romans 8:17-18 NET).

The picture the apostle Paul gives us of our lives before becoming a Christian was that we were a slave – we were slaves to sin. The word slavery brings to mind all sorts of negative thoughts due to the history of slavery in the Western World, particularly in the 1800s. A slave was a person who served someone else – totally. What they said to do they had to do, where they said to go they had to go. They served a master who might be cruel or who might be lenient, depending on how he felt. Continue reading “Freed to be a slave”