Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Hope of Israel

 Acts 28:20 For this reason, therefore, I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain."

20 διὰ ταύτην οὖν τὴν αἰτίαν παρεκάλεσα ὑμᾶς ἰδεῖν καὶ προσλαλῆσαι, ἕνεκεν γὰρ τῆς ἐλπίδος τοῦ Ἰσραὴλ τὴν ἅλυσιν ταύτην περίκειμαι.

This is Paul's address to the Jews in Rome.  He got there on Caesar's dime and then stayed at his own expense. It astounds me that he was voluntarily imprisoned so that he could preach the gospel.  This is how Paul operated.  Everything was about the gospel to him.

He was all about  τῆς ἐλπίδος τοῦ Ἰσραὴλ.  What is this hope?  It is Jesus.  He is the hope for Israel and for the world.  Apart from Him there is no hope.  But with Him we have a genuine hope.  It is not the hope of the fan who hopes that his team will win the championship.  This is a hope that we can be sure of.  Jesus is real and He is coming back.  That fact anchors our hope.

Is that your hope?  If not, what is your hope?  What gets you through the day?  What gets you through the trials?  I take great comfort knowing that the God of the universe who created everything cares about me.  I have a relationship with Him that I certainly do not deserve.  What about you?


Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

"Jesus is real and He is coming back. That fact anchors our hope."

Amín, adelphós mou, amín!

To us, the belief in the literal return of Christ, His parousía, is paramount.

In my blogpost "Preparation" ( I wrote,

And everyone who has this hope purifies himself as He is pure.
1 John 3:3

This verse speaks about our becoming like Christ, when He returns. What is the one mark of those who have the hope of Christ’s return in their hearts? They purify themselves constantly. Everyone who does not have the hope of the parousía, the return of Christ, can be identified by this fact: He does not purify himself in his daily life to Christ’s standard of purity.

I suppose you could read this out of context and make it sound like I am describing a "works" program, but I am not. Orthodoxy does not believe in salvation thru works, only thru Christ's mercy. But we do believe in following the commandments of Christ in the spirit of the verse, "I run the way of Your commandments, since You have set me free" (Psalm 119:32).

Excellent post, brother! Axios!

Jason said...

I completely agree. One of my biggest problems with the American church is the cheapening of grace. How can we say that we worship the God of the universe if we don't want to be more like Jesus? It's not just a ticket that we punch for eternity in heaven. It is about real life transformation. If there is no transformation then how can we say that we know Him?