Along with festive celebrations and traditions, Christmastime also brings with it a more serious focus on hope. Charities and ministries strive to uplift those who are struggling to make ends meet and the message of peace on earth is prevalent. In a secular context, Santa Claus often embodies hope for a better, more caring world. But when all is said and done, it’s a different Christmas figure who offers real and true hope for humanity.
One motivation for writing my latest book, Christian Endgame, was a desire to not only offer a different way of thinking about the Bible’s teaching on future things, but to also to help Christians understand what the future aspects of the faith mean for believers—and for those who are searching for hope.
As the saying goes, humans can live for a short time without water and food—but they cannot survive without hope. The longer a person lives, the more this statement appears to be true. People have an innate need to know that their lives have meaning, significance, and value. To face life’s many challenges, a person must believe there is an overarching good and true purpose beyond this existence. Genuine hope can serve as an anchor when everything seems to fall apart. But the absence of hope destroys the quality of a person’s life and inevitably leads to sorrow and despair.
The good news that starts at Christmas and culminates with Easter is that Jesus Christ is hope incarnate. His incomparable life in this time-space world testifies to the goodness and value of being made in the image of God. Christ’s atoning death on the cross of Calvary instills confidence to believe that God loves sinners and has indeed forgiven the sin that weighs on the human conscience. Jesus’ amazing bodily Resurrection from the grave gives assurance that not even physical death can crush a living hope in God.
Jesus Christ has already inaugurated his kingdom and believers are the fortunate beneficiaries of his saving grace. Therefore, the promises of his Second Coming should buttress hope by reminding believers that God will bring forth the consummation of his sovereign and glorious kingdom at the right time. Living hope will one day give way to God’s eternal kingdom.
Plus, not only has the Resurrection assured believers that physical death is not the end of personal existence, but biblical eschatology also assures Christ’s followers that loved ones who have died in the Lord are now in the presence of Jesus Christ. At the glorious Second Coming of Christ he will resurrect believers’ physical bodies and bring them back with him to this earth (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18). So, rather than contributing to anxiety, biblical eschatology is intended to provide peace and comfort to God’s people even in the wake of death itself.
Reflection on Christian eschatological truths should motivate believers to action in the here and now. Knowing that one will leave this temporal world to dwell in God’s eternal consummated kingdom should encourage distinctively purposeful living, which is focused on eternity. This includes sharing the gospel message with those who need to hear the good news of Christmas—that there is “bright hope for tomorrow” because of Jesus Christ.
To find out how you can receive a copy of my book Christian Endgame for a donation in any amount to RTB now through December 31, visit https://www.reasons.org/donate/donations.