“Hope” in Scripture can be defined as the believer’s assurance that the blessings God promises for the future will occur. It’s joyful expectation of an unrealized future reality. The greatest, most joy-producing promise that God has made is that His Son Jesus Christ is going to return to earth to bring His followers to heaven for eternity.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 says, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”
Whether you believe this describes the rapture of church-age believers or simply the second coming of Christ to resurrect believers to rule and reign with him, the result is the same—Christ will raise the earthly bodies of believers (whether dead or alive), transform the perishable bodies into imperishable bodies, reuniting the soul and spirit with the imperishable body to spend eternity in heaven.
Why is this the greatest hope? Because eternity in the presence of God is the greatest blessing, especially in light of the alternative—unending torment in the lake of fire. Listen to how Jesus describes the eternity of hell: “If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:47-48).
There is no more poignant, rubber-meets-the-road test of what you believe, what your hope is, than when a loved one dies or when you are facing death yourself.
How can one have assurance of going to heaven rather than doubt or dread of hell? How can one have faith in a realm that we can’t see or touch? Join us this weekend on The Christian Worldview as we discuss the trustworthy God who will keep His greatest promise.