Posted by: rcottrill | November 22, 2009

Good Hope by Grace

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work. (II Thess. 2:16-17)

This is a prayer of the apostle for the believers in Thessalonica. It is a petition for their encouragement and strength in service. Also in the epistle we find a prayer for God’s blessing, and for His glory (1:11-12), a prayer for love and patience (3:5), and for peace (3:16). In our work for the Lord, we need all of these. And there is a companion prayer in Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonian church:

Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints. (I Thess. 3:11-13)

God has loved us (Jn. 3:16) and given us “everlasting consolation [abiding comfort and encouragement]” due to our secure standing in grace (Rom. 5:2). Praise the Lord for His “good hope by grace!” It is “the hope of salvation” (I Thess. 5:8). And salvation is our present possession, by grace through faith, but there are many blessings reserved for us that are yet to be enjoyed.

That is our hope–the joyful certainty of future blessing. It is “a better hope,” when contrasted with the inability of the Mosaic Law to save (Heb. 7:19), tied to “the blessed hope” of Christ’s return (Tit. 2:13). And it is “a living hope” which guarantees the eternal blessing of all who believe (I Pet. 1:3-5).

All of this becomes not only a reassurance, but a strengthening resource that we might be equipped to speak for the Lord and to serve Him. Loving words and actions are to flow out of hearts that are encouraged and strengthened by Him. Or, to put it another way, the confidence that He will enable us to serve is rooted in an appreciation for the broad scope of His saving work through Christ.

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

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.


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