What are you hopeful for this year? Do you expect to fulfilled your desires and give into your cravings? Do you dream of seeing what the world has to offer you? Do you want more attention, recognition, and influence for yourself? I hope not. This is description of “…all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:16). Christ’s Spirit urges us, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). One’s cravings, entertainment, and recognition will all hopeless die and pass away. “And the world is passing away, and the lust of it” (1 John 2:17a). People love the distraction of these worldly things from the reality of endless guilt.
The only hope that is left is to live with God forever. “[H]e who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17b). You cannot follow these lusts and dwell with God for eternity. The extent of God’s grace only cleanses our sins when we walk in the light and confess our sins to the Father (1 John 1:7, 9). Yet, many say that they believe and know God, but they show no hope. Christ’s Spirit reveals, “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4). If we hope in the words of Christ, then we will constantly study them. If we hope in the life of Christ, then we would constantly read and think about His example. If we have hope in Jesus’ words, then we will certainly gather with saints every time that we can, because we are convicted that we would “consider one another in order to stir up love and good works” (Heb. 10:24-25). When hope in Christ, we hope in His death and observe the Lord’s Supper in the Assembly every first day of the week (1 Cor. 11:20, 33, Acts 20:7). When we have hope in Christ, we change and we no longer live in sin (1 John 1:7).
What hope is there without Christ? What hope is there in sin? Job reflected, “For what is the hope of the hypocrite, Though he may gain much, If God takes away his life?” (Job 27:8). What enduring hope is there for those who pursue fleshly lusts in cravings, lust of the eyes in amusements, and pride of life in recognition? Jesus said in Matthew 16:26, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
We need hope to repent. “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:3). We must be motivated and compelled by our confident expectation in Jesus Christ, who never disappoints. We are motivated by God’s love being His children and knowing that when He is revealed, “we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is” (1 John 3:1-2). Hope provokes purity. We purify ourselves in obeying the truth and being born again by the Word of God (1 Pet. 1:22). We set our hope fully on the coming grace by being obedient and not being conformed to lusts (1 Pet. 1:13-16). We are born again to a living hope (1 Pet. 1:3-4). Have you been born again? Do you have this hope? See what it means to be born again here.