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The Living Hope We Have in Christ

Dark times can profoundly shake our faith and assurance in God.  Ongoing trials, deep hurts, and spiritual warfare can make us lose sight of the incredible hope we have in Jesus Christ.  But despite the darkness, Christ’s resurrection guarantees our justification, sanctification, and future glorification.  This living hope is ours both now and for all eternity.

Justification – God’s Complete Forgiveness

What does justification mean?  Simply put, it is God’s complete forgiveness through Jesus Christ.  When we put our faith in Christ, trusting in His sacrifice for us, God sees us as righteous in His eyes – as if we had never sinned at all.  Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Through Christ’s redeeming blood, all our sins are forgiven – past, present, and future.

This justification before God happens instantly when we are born again into God’s family.  We go from being condemned sinners to forgiven saints in an instant, even before we have time to change our outward behavior.  Our right standing before our holy God depends entirely on Jesus’ atoning death for us, not on our own effort.  Our only role is to have genuine repentant faith, trusting that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross secured our redemption once and for all.

Sanctification – God’s Power to Live Right

But God does not just justify us and then leave us alone to struggle against sin.  No, when He forgives us, He also sends the Holy Spirit to begin the process of sanctifying us – or transforming us into Christ’s image and freeing us from sin’s power in our lives.  Scripture says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).  Justification (forgive us our sins) and sanctification (cleanse us from all unrighteousness) work hand-in-hand.

Though temptations still come, we as believers are no longer helpless slaves to sin.  After all, “Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14).  Christ’s death and resurrection have broken sin’s power and its penalty.  We now have the Holy Spirit living within us, empowering us to say no to sin and walk in ever greater freedom from its grip.

God’s Power to Keep Us

We all know this sanctification process has its ups and downs.  We make progress but also stumble.  Yet even when we do, God still keeps us securely in His hands.  Jude says, “He is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 1:24).

What comfort we have in knowing that our eternal salvation does not depend on our strength to hold on to God, but His ability to hold on to us.  And just as Christ’s tomb could not contain Him, nothing can snatch us out of the Father’s mighty hand (John 10:28-29).  The same almighty power that raised Jesus from the dead now works in us to transform our lives to look like His (Eph. 1:19-20).  It doesn’t get much better than this.

Future Glorification – Perfected with Christ

But this living hope in Christ also includes an amazing future promise – that one day we will be completely free from sin’s presence and will be perfected with Him in glory.  We are promised to “see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2).  Although we often stumble in this life, the day is coming when we will be fully glorified with Christ, being made completely righteous in Him.

Stand Firm in the Hope of Christ

Dark times will come that shake our faith.  That is a guarantee.  But Christ stands unmovable and unchanging as our “living hope” through all the storms in life.  His resurrection powerfully guarantees the full salvation He purchased for us.  So when discouragement sets in, let us remember that He who promised is faithful (Heb. 10:23), and He will never stop His sanctifying work within us until we see Him face to face.

By His atoning blood, we stand fully pardoned and justified before God.  In the strength of His Spirit, we can walk in ever greater sanctification, rejecting sin’s power.  And through His flawless redeeming work, we will one day be presented glorified and spotless before God with exceeding joy (Jude 1:24).

The Higher Christian Life

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