God’s Surprises - Faith, Hope, Charity
"But the battle between the Church and the Devil is not determined on earth. It has already been settled in heaven. The Ascension of Christ meant the downfall of Satan, and every act of Christian sacrifice confirms it. Now, according to John’s picture, having been driven from the presence of God, the Devil becomes the enemy of all who seek to do God’s will, using every weapon he can find to defeat the purpose of the Creator, (Revelation 12:1-17)." Neil
1. A living hope!
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." 1 Peter 1:3-5
"To reach the joy and blessing of eternal life in Christ, we first experience the sadness of the passing world, along with the afflictions we must face here (James 1:1-12). To the watching world the perseverance of the faithful during afflictions appears foolish and even contemptible. But Peter shows that faith under trial is precious indeed, bearing more glory and honor as it continues to stand under trial." Wallerstedt
2. God is working His Vision of the Ages.
"Surely the wrath of man shall praise You; With the remainder of wrath You shall gird Yourself." Psalms 76:10
"For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth." Romans 9:17
"Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them." Rev 11:11-12
3. Faith, Hope, Love
Hope is a gift from the Holy Spirit. It’s a miracle of renewal that never lets us down. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.
"Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.’ Romans 5:5
Paul tells us that hope has a name. Hope is Christ.
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
Does this make it too easy? Think of the price which Christ paid to save us. God Himself did what we could not do.
"For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."
And referring to the virtues of faith, hope and charity (love).
Often the virtue of hope is seen as the most humble of the three, because it is hidden in life. You can see faith and you can feel it, you know what it is. And charity too – we know what that is. But what is hope? What is this attitude of hope? First of all we can say it is a risk, a risky virtue – as Paul says: it is a virtue of ardent expectation for the Revelation of Christ Coming Again. "It is not an illusion".
Jesus, The Hope, renews everything.
"...who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles." 2 Tim 1:9-11
So hope is a constant miracle. The miracle of what He’s doing in the Church. The miracle of making everything new: of what He does in my life, in your life, in our life. He builds and He rebuilds. And that is precisely the reason of our hope. Christ is the one who renews every wonderful thing of the Creation; He's the reason of our hope. And this hope does not delude because He is faithful. He can't renounce Himself. This is the virtue of hope.
"For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us." 2 Tim 1:12-14