Most work hard for a paycheck, but if the company can no longer give us money for our work, we no longer show up. We have a certain amount of loyalty but largely are not intrinsically invested in our jobs. This is just the opposite of our walk with Christ–and good thing! We must obey God, but heaven is not given to us because of our obedience. We cannot work for our salvation; it is a gift. In some ways, this seeming disconnect makes it harder for Christians to persevere and be faithful unto death if we must rely on grace through Jesus’ work on the cross that has nothing to do with us.
This is why we are left with one of the three big gifts (1 Corinthians 13:8-13)–hope!
I. Hebrews 6:17-20. Hope is our motivator. God, who never lies, confirmed eternity for us with an oath, so we might flee our old life of sin and selfishness and take hold of the only thing that can save us–His unchangeable promise of heaven! It was this hope or the “joy set before him” that got Jesus through the cross to motivate us to throw off hindrances and sin and not grow weary in the Christian walk (Hebrews 12:1-3).
II. 1 Timothy 4:7-10. We labor and strive because of hope in the living God. When asked if he wanted to leave Him too, Peter replied that there was no one else to turn to (John 6:66-69). Before the Sanhedrin, he declared that salvation was found in no one else (Acts 4:8-12). But, the very nature of hope is that it is always just out of reach, and it is so hard to wait (Romans 8:23-25). Yes, it is!
III. Mark 14:66-72. There was a time when Peter had let go of hope. It was Thursday through his talk with the resurrected Christ while eating some fish (John 21:15-19). Having denied Jesus, the very thing he swore he would not do, Peter slunk back to huddle with those who had deserted their Master while Jesus was crucified and buried. On the resurrection Sunday, the omniscient God calls him out when He, through the angel, tells the women at the tomb to tell “his disciples and Peter” (Mark 16:7).
When we sin, we let go of the hope that we have taken hold of to return to that which we have fled from. We become like Peter, even pretending to fit in with His disciples today at church. We must repent and re-grasp this great gift of hope, letting it be our motivator to walk as Jesus did (1 John 2:6).