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Hope Rests on Grace

Lord God, hear us: help us to hear You. Amen.

Does anyone love you? I suppose there are times that we may feel unloved.  However, I am sure that every one of you is loved by someone and probably by many.

Think of one person who loves you [pause]. Okay. Now ask yourself, “Can I always depend on that love?”

Is your hope for a happy, peaceful, productive future based on the love that this person has for you? As much as this person might love you, there will be disappointments. The love of human beings is weak and often fails. There will be circumstances which test that love and cause its breakdown; that can happen among human beings.

What about the love of God? Is this unfailing? Is this dependable? Can we base our hope of future peace and happiness on His love? Or will that fail us too? Listen to the words of Peter. “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace being brought to you in connection with the revelation of  Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13).

Last Monday we prayed that this school year will be one of hope. This morning we will see that our hope depends on the grace of God.

First of all, let us remember what our hope is. We do not hope for riches or power or popularity. If such things come to us, perhaps we can use them to promote the real hope. But as for these things, Scripture says, “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).

Our earthly lives and everything that pertains to them are weak and failing foundations for hope. If we place our hope on such things, we will find ourselves in despair.

The only real hope is that there is more to life than this little time that vanishes away. That “more” is eternal glory in the presence of God. This life is but a waiting room in which we prepare ourselves and others for what is to come.

In our text the Holy Spirit urges us to rest our hope fully on God’s grace. Fully…completely; not even the slightest portion of our hope should rest on anything else. Only the grace of God is both sure and steadfast.

The Hebrew language has a word for it which means “steadfast love,” and it is used at least 255 times in the Hebrew Bible. Such is the importance of this word for God’s people. Our Bible versions usually use the translation “mercy,” but “steadfast love” is better.

Listen to how this familiar passage now sounds: “O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for His steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 107:1)

The love of God…the grace of God is steadfast. It is unshakeable. It does not wax and wane like the phases of the moon, sometimes stronger, sometimes weaker. God’s love is not affected by the times and events of the world. It is not affected by the good and evil of men. The Bible does not say that God so loves the world sometimes, but other times He doesn’t. It doesn’t say that He so loved the world back when He gave His only begotten Son, but He doesn’t any more. His steadfast love endures forever!

Therefore, we rest our hope
upon a foundation that will
not be moved—upon grace, the
undeserved love of God.

Since we already know that we have done nothing to deserve such love, we know also that it remains undeserved. Nothing can change that: “…neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38f).

As for our sins: “…where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (Romans 5:20). Grace is steadfast. Therefore, we can pray the words of the psalmist: “Be mindful of Thy mercy, O Lord, and of Thy steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, or my transgressions; according to Thy steadfast love remember me, for Thy goodness’ sake, O Lord!” (Psalm 25:6f)

We were, are, and will be forgiven, for Jesus’ sake. Grace is steadfast.

If then our hope rests fully upon His grace, our hope is also certain. We heard it in our previous devotion: “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6:19).

The Christian hope is not a vague wish. We call it hope because we are still waiting for it. It’s coming. Our text says that it is “in connection with the revelation of Jesus Christ.” One day Christ will be revealed in the clouds of heaven. Then we will have the fulfillment of our hope.

Until then we wait, firmly clinging to the grace of God. “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance” (Romans 8:24f).

Grace is steadfast,
unshakeable, eternal.
Hope rests on grace.
Hope is steadfast,
unshakeable, eternal.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope”   Jeremiah 29:11