For it was by hope that we were saved; but if we see what we hope for, then it is not really hope. For who of us hopes for something we see? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Imagine a world where cruelty was endemic, where slavery was normal and where people died all the time due to the most basic illnesses. This was the world of Paul and it was a world where human life was very cheap. Hardly surprising that for almost all religions of the day the sense of looking forward to a better life was prominent.
What made Christianity distinct is the idea of Grace. Our future with God is given as a gift of God that does not require us to earn it. Jesus sacrifice on the cross earned it for us. Rather, we are required to accept the gift.
That is harder than you think because we don’t like to receive anything without having earned it first. We really don’t like the idea of ‘owing’ anyone anything or being in their debt. Yet that is grace. We are in God’s debt because of his grace because he has promised us a future we could never get for ourselves.
Think what it was like for a slave who had been born a slave and who knew they would die a slave to hear that message? Or someone who couldn’t afford the sacrificial animals demanded by temple?
Throughout history the grace of God has given hope to countless generations who found in it great reassurance; particularly in times of trouble such as we find ourselves in.
Is your hope in something tangible that will wear away or is your hope in the grace of God that will never be withdrawn and never rust or corrode?