The Christian’s Real and Certain Hope: The New Creation
UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.
1 Peter 1:13-16, “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (14) As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, (15) but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, (16) since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.””
We are all way too attached to this earth. Every Christian will admit it. We know we should be keeping the eyes of our minds set upon Christ where our real life is, not on things down here. We are to set our hope fully on the grace that is coming when Christ comes for us. Peter goes on in verse 17 to say, “conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth.” Our redemption at the resurrection is certain. The Father would never have redeemed us at the cost of the precious blood of the unblemished Lamb if it were not so.
We are all working to deal with our issues in this life. We are helping one another to understand abusers and how they have impacted our lives. We are trying to help our children overcome these things as well. We all want to heal and to grow in the Lord. But….
What is our ultimate hope? Where does our real life truly begin? What should our thoughts and hopes be fixed upon? Peter hints at it when he refers to our earthly lives as “the time of our stay on earth.” Scripture even refers to our present bodies as “tents.” They are temporary and are destined to be changed into immortal buildings, the resurrection body.
Therefore, if we are going to help one another along, we must point to the finish line. We cannot guarantee to anyone that their circumstances in this world are going to radically be changed for the better if they follow Christ. This life is not like a Dickens novel in which, in the end, the pauper is found out to be heir of a fortune and all live happily ever after. This life isn’t like that, but guess what we CAN promise everyone who places their faith and trust in Jesus Christ? Ultimately, life DOES end like that:) Because in Christ, it turns out that paupers like us, with no hope and without God in the world, have in fact become heirs. Heirs to a fortune and a home and estate that literally, no human being could dream up if they tried.
If you would like some very, very practical help in becoming more heavenly minded, I would highly recommend Randy Alcorn’s book to you – Heaven [*Affiliate link]. If you are like most Christians, you are not really that excited to get to heaven. Why? Because your thoughts about it are wrong. What if what you have been calling “heaven” (a term I now try to avoid because it conveys too much of the vapory in our minds), what if this heaven turned out to be Eden restored? A pre-fall earth and heavens brought back to its original glory? What if Christ’s redemption is more than just forgiving our sins so we don’t have to go to hell? What if…. what if “heaven” is a place where we will have real bodies that never hurt, real rivers, trees, animals, homes, neighbors, libraries, and more? What if death for the Christian is just a transition into what is far more real than what we have now? And what if I asked you again now in light of these things …. are you ready to go there?
You get the point. If heaven to you is a place that is probably pretty nice, but no way are you ready to go there right now, then you probably have some corrections to make in your thinking. Be done with the angel wings, clouds, and harps. You say that’s not exciting? Of course it isn’t. That is not the kind of world the Lord made you for in the first place.