Be Realistically Hopeful

posted by chadhovind

The Bible is Too Niavely Optimistic

Most religions have a way of elevating yourself. Usually it is some version of good deeds. In Buddhism you get enlightenment. In Islam you follow the 7 pillars. In Judaism you keep the law. In Christian Science you mediate on real vs the unreal.  When you look at all the similarities in these very different philosophies, it comes down to one thing: a do-it-yourself plan. Your job is to elevate yourself.  So you feel as good as “your self image.” You are as acceptable to God as your daily update of good deeds. You are as worthy as your resume tells you, you are.  The best you get is “if you do this, this, and this” we can temporarily make this a better place until we all die.    On the other hand, Jesus says you can know you will be in Heaven with Him. You can know God is with you right now. You can know you are acceptable to God. And Christianity doesn’t say this is possible, it says it is inevitable to those who place their trust in Christ.  It offers a way to be acceptable to God that is not changing, not unstable, not based on you.

Romans 8:15 You received the spirit of adoption by whom we cry out Abba, Father. The Spirit bears witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.

Notice that the Bible says that you can Know you are a son of God. You can have the confidence that you are adopted by the Father. You can know you are a heir. A co-heir with Christ.   Many religions offer second chances to clean up your act. But nothing like this. No religion even dares to claim that you can be adopted by God permanently into His family and offered heirship to God’s eternal treasures.  Do you see how this elevates us? Paul doesn’t say that “one day you will be,” he is talking in the present tense. You can know that RIGHT NOW you are acceptable to God. RIGHT NOW, you are beautiful, stainless, expensive, valuable, and beautiful. Why? Based on what? Based on what He has done. God offers to give this us and View us the way he viewed his son. God can see us as righteous as his son Jesus is. As pure as his son Christ. As kind, and selfless… Everything we want to be, but can’t be, and a million times more is what God is offering.  Doesn’t it sound too good to be true? Doesn’t something in you start saying, “Yes, but if you don’t make it about works, how will you keep people behaving?  That’s a nice idea, but it can’t be true. It’s too much. Too good. He must mean something else.  But God doesn’t mean something else.  He offers a self-image that is so high, so exalted, and so beautiful… mainly because it is not directly correlated to “self”.  My image of me is a God image. How does God see me now? The problem with a good self image, or a bad self image is that they are directly correlated to some aspect of myself.  If I play sports well, if I get the deal, if I am a good mom, good dad, a blah blah blah….


The word HOPE in the Bible is not like our word hope. Hope means, “I wish…” I hope the Bengals do better… I wish/hope the Reds would win the World Series.  The word HOPE in the Bible means confidence. It is a confident assurance.

You can know that God will make you acceptable.

You can know God can change you.

You and I can know that God can take even the bad stuff and use it for good.

I was on the phone about 5 months ago with a friend of mine who is an executive in New York.  He was in tears as he told me that he was going through a divorce and it was tearing him apart. He told me that part of what led to the divorce was his ongoing addiction to pornography. He was deeply realistic about how his actions had led to the divorce. And then he said, “Chad I used to think I’d never be “one of those people” who got divorced and had to visit my kids once a month.  I realized how judgmental I was in thinking that.  I was so ashamed of my addiction; I know I can’t make up for what I did. But I am learning how God made me clean through Christ. I keep thanking God, that by His grace, He makes me clean. He’s made me acceptable.  I so want to live and walk in the grace that He’s given me. I know I can be free from this.” He was telling me about the hope he had to change, the hope he had to examine his own pride and judgementalism.

The teachings of the Bible makes you realistically hopeful about all the things that are wrong. They give you the freedom to doubt and be realistic about pain, suffering and evil… And yet promise a power that can overcome and overwhelm the worst of the worst.


For a free first session of Godonomics, visit:  http://www.godonomics.com/watch-session-1



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