Our Hope is a Sure Thing . . . It Is To Be Expected
James E. Farley
Brother Pete Straight served his country well in two wars: WWII and Korea. He was a POW during WWII, and I would often ask him about his experiences along that line. Pete was an elder with the church at Winchester, Virginia, when I preached there. He told me many of his experiences while we were acquainted, and the stories of that part of his life were very interesting and even thrilling to me. I came to respect and admire Pete a great deal for his service to his country, and for his faithful service to the Lord’s church. He has now gone on to his reward, and his works do follow him. (Revelation 14:13).
Pete told me about how he was a captain in the U.S. Army, a tank commander in North Africa against the forces of the famous German Field Marshall Rommel, “The Desert Fox.” The American tanks were really no match for the German Panzer tanks, and Pete said he and his troops would often climb up onto some of the higher sand dunes to see the German tanks through their binoculars. Pete said that they knew it was just a matter of time before tanks would simply run through them and overtake them. There was a sense of dread, he said. One morning it happened – the inevitable happened. Pete said it was “like thunder” when all of those German tanks began to roar toward them. No doubt the battle was fierce. Several British and American soldiers were killed, and others were captured to spend the remainder of the war in a concentration camp in Germany.
We have all had those kinds of things in our lives – things that we knew were going to happen; things that were inevitable and to be expected. Sometimes these kinds of occurrences are joyful times, like the birth of our children, but, at other times, they are hard and fretful. Many have waited, for instance, for a sick loved one to pass on to his or her reward. This past year (2011), I received word that three of my high school classmates and friends of mine had died. All three graduated from high school with me in 1970. Two died after rather long bouts with cancer, and the other died unexpectedly this past week from a massive heart-attack.
Each time, the news caused me to reflect upon and to think seriously about my own mortality. I am going to die, too. It is inevitable, and certainly to be expected (Hebrews 9:27). The Bible says, “For the living know that they shall die …” (Ecclesiastes 9:5). I am neither terribly troubled nor morbid about it, and this fact does not depress me or cause me to feel “blue” and hopeless. Why? I am a Christian, and I have a great hope of life continuing after my physical body has stopped functioning. I rejoice in this hope that we have as followers of Jesus, the Christ. (Romans 12:12; Titus 1:2; John 11:25). You see, God cannot lie, and He has promised us eternal life. Therefore, I hope in that promise – and rejoice in that hope!
This “hope” I have is not guess-work, and it is not a “blind leap.” Like Paul, I have come to “know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12). You see, we can know that we know Him if we keep His commandments. It is in keeping His Word that we can truly say we love God, and we can know that we are IN HIM. (1 John 2:3-6). He is the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him. (Hebrews 5:8-9). Remember that He said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15; Compare John 15:14). Furthermore, His commandments are not grievous nor burdensome. (1 John 5:3). We can know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. (1 John 3:14). Also, we know we love the brethren when we love God and keep His commandments. (1 John 5:2). This “hope” we have of having eternal life in the Son is not a guess. Our God cannot lie, and He has promised us eternal life. This “hope” we have is as sure and steadfast as an anchor of the soul. (Hebrews 6:9-20. Especially note verses 18-20).
Yes, indeed, our “hope” is a sure thing; a thing to be greatly desired and fully expected! It is so sure that, even though we do not actually have it in our grasp while here on this earth, the inspired apostle John said we can “know that ye have eternal life …” (1 John 5:13). -1179 Mark Wayne Drive, Louisa, KY 41230. email@example.com
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