Holding on to our hope

God gave three promises to believers. The reality that presents itself to us, however, looks a little different. Here is a look at what our hope is based on and how not to lose it. Explanations from a divine service by the Chief Apostle.

“And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises,” (Hebrews 6: 11–12). This was the Bible text the Chief Apostle used on 5 July 2018 in the divine service he conducted in Ulaanbaatar, the national capital of Mongolia.

The author of the epistle to the Hebrews is referring to Abraham here, whose wife, Sarah, conceived and bore him a son despite being very old. “God’s promise was fulfilled word for word because Abraham kept faith and continued to be patient,” Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider explained.

Promise and reality

“What has God promised us?” the Chief Apostle asked. He promised that

  • the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ would break the power of evil.
  • He will return in order to take His bride unto Himself.
  • He will be with His Apostles until they have completed their mission.

“These are the three great promises we have been given,” he said. However, the reality that presents itself to us seems to tell a different story, he continued: we see the power of evil; Jesus still has not come although centuries have passed; and only a minority accept the Apostles.

Doubt and certainty

“This could cause us to become discouraged: ‘What use is my doing good if evil is going to triumph anyway,” the Chief Apostle asked, outlining some possible thoughts. “Perhaps the coming of the kingdom of God is meant to be understood symbolically only.” And: “The Apostles aren’t really that successful anyway.” However: “This is how we give up our hope and become indolent.”

“Let us remain firm in hope,” was his appeal. For our hope is based on a solid foundation.

  • “This promise has been given to you by God. God is the truth; He cannot lie.”
  • “The resurrection of Jesus Christ is not a fable. His resurrection is a fact. Because He resurrected we too will resurrect.”
  • “Thanks to the gift of the Holy Spirit we already today have the power to resist sin.”

Diligence and preparation

“Let us always be diligent,” the Chief Apostle said as he put the focus on the preparation for the return of Christ.

  • “Of course we are still sinners, but let’s not give up but continue to fight against sin. And if we fall fifty times, we get up fifty times. Even if all others do evil, we respond to evil with good.”
  • “We do not only want to be blessed in our natural lives. We do not only want to be good people. We want to develop into the likeness of Jesus Christ. For then we will have eternal fellowship with Him.”
  • “Let us pray that the Apostles can fulfil their mission, that they can proclaim the word of God, and that they can gather the bride. The whole congregation is asked to help along. Let us proclaim the gospel!”

The Chief Apostle continued: “The sign that Jesus Christ is with His Apostles is not the number of disciples, but the spiritual development of the congregation. The legible letter of the Apostles today is love, forgiveness, and the unity of the children of God.”

In summing up, the Chief Apostle said: “Jesus Christ promised to deliver us from evil, to return to take us to Himself, and to be with His Apostles until the end. Let us remain steadfast in our hope by persevering in the fight against sin, seeking fellowship with God, and supporting the apostolate.”

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Andreas Rother
Chief Apostle, Divine service