“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” – Romans 15:13
Intro to the Issue:
This issue focuses on the hope we have in Christ. The Advent season reminds us that we are called to live and abound in hope as the Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 15:13.
Hope is not wishful thinking or passive waiting for something to happen. We are called to “seize the hope set before us... as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner shrine behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 6:18-20). Hope calls us to live differently, invest wisely, and stand firmly as “a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a people set apart for God”(1 Peter 2:9) and “the coming of his kingdom which lasts forever”.
Christian hope springs from faith and confidence. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation” (Hebrews 11:1-2 ESV). Hope enables people of faith to see beyond the present fading pleasures and rewards and the momentary struggles and afflictions to a better future and a more secure and lasting homeland that awaits those who are ready to meet the Lord when he returns to raise our mortal bodies to immortality (1 Corinthians 15:51-53) and bring us into his everlasting kingdom.
And Christian hope doesn’t quit or look back. It dares and emboldens us to “run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1,2). While we live as sojourners and exiles in this present world, we strive to advance the kingdom of God as his ambassadors and disciples on mission. The Lord Jesus is the supreme model and source of our hope and confidence because he has gone before us to prepare a better homeland for us. And through the work and power of the Holy Spirit he continues to guide, direct, and strengthen us to stay the course he has set so we can finish well and receive our reward. .
Paul the Apostle tells us to “rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God” and to “rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 2,3-5).
May this issue inspire and call each of us to be renewed in hope, especially as we face the turbulent times we live in – times of testing and purification, and times of suffering and persecution for many Christians around the world.
Sincerely in Christ,