A Comprehensive Hope!
Considering the tumultuous, deadly, violent, and disappointing events of 2020, multitudes of people in America and around the world have lost hope, becoming disillusioned, depressed, and despairing. But if that’s you, “Hope Up”! Not in trying to make America great again or in the confidence that the newly inaugurated administration will be able to bring us back to a “new norm”, but in the God of hope and in the power of His gospel. It is the gospel of the kingdom that brings true confident expectation and desire that everything He promised to be and do for us and the nations in Jesus – He has and will do to the consummation of all things in Christ!
Unable to remotely improve on what David Bryant wrote in his excellent book “Christ is Now”, I pass along this portion addressing “comprehensive hope”:
“I believe that one of the greatest gifts God offers, both to His people and to the nations, is a comprehensive hope, for now and forever, based on the nature, character, ministry and victory of His Son. This hope is anchored in four great truths about Him: who He is as the Son of God, where He leads in the Purposes of God, how He imparts the Resources of God and what He receives from the People of God. This hope is defined by nothing less than the full extent of His supremacy.
This is true because every promise that Christ will fulfill when His supremacy is manifested in the consummation of all things, He embodies now, making Him the supreme hope for our generation, just as fully as He will be in the End. This is the glory of His supremacy - who Christ is right now as the Son of God, as the unceasing focus of all God wants to reveal of Himself and all He wants to accomplish for the redemption and transformation of His creation and His people.
This is true because whatever Christ will be Lord of when His supremacy is fully manifested in the Consummation of all things, He is Lord of already, making Him the supreme hope for our generation now, just as fully as He will be in the End. To understand the magnitude of Christ’s supremacy that’s waiting to be displayed at the end of the Age, when all of God’s promises and prophecies will be totally fulfilled in Him, is to be compelled right now to follow and serve Him as He leads His people day by day into the fulfillment of God’s Purposes in Him.
This is true because just as Christ will be seen as both center and circumference for the life of the redeemed when His supremacy is thoroughly manifested in the Consummation of all things, at this very hour He reigns as both the Church’s center and our circumference - once again making Him the supreme hope for our generation, just as fully as He will be our Final Hope in the New Heaven and earth. Accordingly, the Church lives in daily expectations of experiencing increasing approximations of the Consummation, on many fronts, right now, as we keep on entering more fully into the reign of God’s Son, living together each day in growing “intimacy with His supremacy”.
This is true because one of the greatest displays of Christ’s supremacy is seen in the response of His people who behold His glory. They put their hope in Him as daily they consume Him and are consumed with Him. Like Psalm 110 describes, “His troops will be willing in His day of battle” because they are convinced that He has sat down at the right hand of God, that His enemies are becoming His footstool, and that the Father is “extending His scepter to rule in the midst of His enemies”.
Therefore, I’m convinced that wherever this larger vision of Christ and His supremacy has been diminished and neglected in the Church - wherever Christians struggle with a shortfall of hope about God’s promises in Christ as well as succumb to sagging passion for the advancement of God’s Kingdom in Christ - we face a critical crisis. It is a shortfall in how we see, seek, and speak about the person of God’s Son. It impacts every facet of the Church’s life of worship, prayer, discipleship, community, compassion, service, and mission. And since the mission of the Gospel is the greatest hope God holds out to the world, any crisis inside the Church that impedes the advance of the Gospel must be regarded as the greatest crisis facing the world at-large! This crisis has sprung primarily because many believers have settled for the “centrality” of Christ (“Christ exists for me”), failing to move into the greater dynamic of the “supremacy” of Christ (“I exist for Him”). The Christian life is more than (though it includes) Christ being at the center of who we are, where we’re headed, what we’re doing and how we’re blessed (“centrality”).
Therefore, I’m convinced that for the sake of God’s glory within His people and among the nations, this crisis calls for multitudes throughout the Church to be re-awakened, intentionally, and thoroughly, to fresh hope and passion focused on Christ and the full extent of His supremacy - that is, focused on who He is as God’s Son, where He leads in God’s purposes, how He imparts God’s resources and what He receives from God’s people. God’s Son must once again become for God’s people the summation, consummation, approximation, and consuming passion of all the promises, prophecies and purposes of the Father, for us and for the nations.
Consequently, I urge that for the sake of God’s glory within His people and among the nations - to foster a Christ-awakening - committed Christians everywhere must begin to render to Christ strategic service on three fronts:
- We must proclaim among fellow believers a message of hope that redirects their faith toward Christ and His supremacy.
- We must awaken fully within fellow believers the power of hope that reignites their passion for Christ and His supremacy.
- We must empower fellow believers to join a campaign of hope that recruits Christians everywhere to reorder daily discipleship, individually and corporately, in a whole new experience of living under Christ and the full extent of His supremacy.
- We must become Messengers of Hope who take every opportunity, every day, to spread among fellow Christians a larger vision of the full extent of Christ’s supremacy and to give each believer they touch greater reasons to put their hope more fully in Him for ALL that He is. “Christ is in you, the hope of glory”. “Him we proclaim, warning every person and teaching every person that we might present every person complete in Christ.” (Colossians 1:27-28)
- We must become Prisoners of Hope who expand and deepen their own vision of Christ, growing with a consuming passion for Him and the hope based on His supremacy, and allowing all of life’s experiences, including times of suffering, to enlarge their capacity for more of Him and of His hope-filled reign in their lives. “I will free your prisoners from their waterless pits (into) prisoners of hope (as I) restore to you twice as much” (Zechariah 9:11-12). “… so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
- We must become Forerunners of Hope who, as they keep growing as Messengers and Prisoners, band together to share a lifestyle focused on the supremacy of God’s Son - a lifestyle that consists of persistent seeking and consistent preparations for more of His supremacy to be revealed. Their lifestyle empowers them to pursue greater manifestations of His Kingdom where they live, and beyond.”
Lord, our hope is not in a nation, a president, or a pastor, but in you. Empower us afresh to proclaim the name of your Son - to spread His fame, embrace His reign, increase His gain, and honor His claim! He shall reign until all of us His enemies have become His footstool. And that’s GOOD NEWS!