What are the three most important characteristics of being a Christian?
There are three that are highlighted in the New Testament as they occur together time and time again. What would you put in your top three?
The Apostle Paul says, “and now faith, hope, and love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love“. (1 Corinthians 13:13)
Faith looks back to the past looking to what Jesus has done; love has eyes on the present, our response everyday for what Jesus has done; hope looks forward.
While love may be the greatest, I wonder if it is hope that we are most in need of being reminded of?
Hope is often used today to mean something along the lines of wishful thinking, the kind of characteristic you would find among optimistic people.
But hope is a characteristic for all Christians. Our hope is not in some vague picture of the future, but in the solid truth of the resurrection.
Jesus’ resurrection is the first fruit of that day when he will return and raise us up to the new creation, our glorious inheritance.
So Paul prays: “that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance.” (Ephesians 1:18.)
Why is it that our hope grows dim?
Perhaps our love for this world is too big? We don’t long for the new creation because we are so captivated by this one?
Perhaps our longing for justice is not big enough? We can become skeptical that nothing will ever change, forgetting that Jesus’ resurrection assures justice for all.
Perhaps our imaginations are too weak? We can’t imagine what it will be like because these promises are extraordinary and completely beyond our experience, and so doubt creeps in.
Our world wants us to doubt, but hope is the antidote.
Don’t let it grow dim, for in Jesus the resurrection has already begun, and so your hope is secure.