FAITH NOW, HOPE TOMORROW
Lord, thank You for allowing me to be a part of the Body of Christ.
Read EPHESIANS 1:15–23
Thanksgiving and Prayer
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[a] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
a. Ephesians 1:17 Or a spirit
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father, / there is no shadow of turning with thee’ (Thomas Obadiah Chisholm, 1866–1960, ‘Great is thy faithfulness’).
What is the difference between faith and hope? Like the unnamed readers, we already have faith. Paul prays that we might also have hope. Faith is ‘in the Lord Jesus’ (15), faith is in the here and now, entrusting our lives to Jesus today. Hope is about the future, about where our faith in Jesus will take us. We are called to be people of hope. Hope is not merely an intellectual thing. Yes, learning and study are helpful: study of the world, study of ourselves, study of the Bible. In the end, however, hope is not held in the mind like logic or physics. Hope is about our true destiny and, as the writer puts it, hope is perceived by ‘the eyes of your heart’ (18). The writer’s pen furiously inks inspired phrases onto the parchment, dripping with the deepest of meanings – ‘riches’, ‘glorious inheritance’, ‘incomparably great power’, ‘mighty strength’ (18,19).
Our faith is in Jesus: living, dying, rising, and ascending. Our hope is in the all-powerful and eternal God who raised Jesus from death and restored Him to His rightful place in the universe, above all that is, above all that ever will be. Paul shares with us an amazing new and inspired vision. In Paul’s writings, the body of Christ is the local church, the local believers (Rom 12:4–8; 1 Cor 12:12). In this striking new image, Christ is the head of a body which fills the whole universe. This image is not simply esoteric information for insiders. It is an immense vision, but it is not a secret. This image gives the suffering church a vision of the power of the everlasting God and through that same God, a vision which eclipses all other visions, the vision of what Jesus has become: ‘the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way’ (23).
‘Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, / blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside’ (Thomas Obadiah Chisholm, 1866–1960, ‘Great is thy faithfulness’)!
Lord, I both believe and hope in You. Thank You for sealing me with the Holy Spirit of promise.