In a world of uncertainties we can live with confidence because God is unchanging in his character and faithful in his promises.
The vague uncertainties of other systems/world religions:
- Elysian Fields: Greek mortals related to the gods and heroes can abide there —> you EARNED this hope.
- Nirvana: In Hinduism, the ultimate release from the cycle of life and liberation from Karmic bondage —> you EARN release.
- The Eight-fold Path of Buddhism: Those attitudes which extinguish the fires of passion and the associated suffering involved —> you EARN absorption.
- Islam: The five pillars of Islam, faithfully followed, will allow for the good to outweigh the bad (hopefully) —> you EARN worthiness for heaven.
“For we KNOW that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate… Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” Romans 7:14-15, 24-25
“For we KNOW that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” Romans 8:22-23
“For we KNOW that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” 2 Corinthians 5:1
“And we KNOW that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Romans 8:28-29
Q 1: What is your only comfort in life and death?
A: That I am not my own, but belong body and soul, in life and in death to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him. Heidelberg Catechism, Question 1
Q 1: What is our only hope in life and death?
A: That we are not our own but belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ. New City Catechism, Question 1
“Besides this you KNOW the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” Romans 13:11-14
We celebrate the certainty of our hope. We celebrate the one mediator between God and man who has finished his work and is presently praying for us in Heaven, preparing a place for us in Heaven and pouring out his Holy Spirit upon his church.
1. Why do these certainties give you confidence, hope and a resilient spirit?
2. Why are the statements from the world religions filled with vague uncertainties?
3. Why does the reality of the cross of Christ and his suffering for our sin speak with a definitive resolution and not uncertainty?