Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Living Sacrifice

"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:1-2

Friday, August 8, 2008

Love - Part 13: Hopes All Things

Love . . . hopes all things
1 Corinthians 13:7

Hopes”, as used in this particular verse, is translated from the Greek word ‘Elpizo’ (Strongs 1679) and it means:

1. to hope
a. in a religious sense, to wait for salvation with joy and full confidence

2. hopefully to trust in

(definition taken from our computer concordance).

This word, “hope” (elpizo) is also defined through Scripture itself: 

For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it” 
(Romans 8:24-25; emphasis added). 

Hope is in something that we cannot see; generally in reference to something futuristic.

There are many verses in Scripture that use this same word “elpizo”, translated as “hope” here in 1 Corinthians 13:7, with many of them in reference to hoping for some future event to take place such as Herod hoping to see a miracle (Luke 23:8), John hoping to come to those whom he addressed in 2 John (2 John 12), and the Israelites hoping that Christ was the one who was going to redeem Israel (Luke 24:21).

For a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ, this 'hoping' in something is clarified by Paul in 1 Corinthians 16:7: “For I do not wish to see you now just in passing; for I hope to remain with you for some time, if the Lord permits” (emphasis added). There is the qualifier for what is hoped in. If the Lord permits . . . if the Lord wills. Paul is hoping for something, but only if the Lord should allow it to take place. His hope is in submission to the will of the Lord.

Just as shared in the previous post on believing all things, our hoping of all things must be in accordance with God’s Word firstly, and then be submitted to His will. Below is a section taken from Love – Part 12: Believes All Things as it ties in closely with this particular aspect of love:

Sometimes in Scripture (though, by far the minority), this word “all” does not mean to be inclusive of every single thing (individually), but to some of all types (collectively). For example: 
God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth” (Genesis 6:12). Had all flesh (each, every, in whole not in part) corrupted their way? Only a few verses prior it is stated that “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time, Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:9). We see that the ‘all’ does not include the righteous man Noah.
To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22). Did Paul become a murderer to the murderers? A thief to the thieves? Obviously not. One must read this “all things” in context to find what indeed is being referred to.

The qualifier of what our hope should be in, what this "all things" is referring to, is in the fact of whether or not the thing hoped for is in accordance with the Lord, His Word and His will for our lives. We obviously cannot know what the Lord’s will is in every aspect of our lives, but our hearts’ response should be as that of Paul: If the Lord permits.

Ultimately, where should our hope be placed?

Now she who is a widow indeed and who has been left alone, has fixed her hope on God and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day” (1 Timothy 5:5; similar verses are found in 1 Timothy 4:10 and 6:17; emphasis added).

For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands . . .” (1 Peter 3:5; emphasis added).

As believers in Christ, we are commanded to:

“. . . fix [our] hope completely on the grace to be brought to [us] at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13; emphasis added).

Our hope should be fixed upon God, and then our hope for futuristic events such as hoping to see or visit someone; hoping that a friend, sibling, or relative will change their course of living; hoping for the success and achievements of others; hoping to marry; hoping to teach; hoping to or for anything . . . these should all be in submission to the Lord’s will for our lives.

As the old hymn says:

My hope is built on nothing less,
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name!

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.

(Words taken from the hymn “The Solid Rock” by Edward Mote)

Indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope.” (2 Corinthians 1:10)

-Posted by Sarah