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What you need to know about COVID-19: October 20, 2020
Pastor Alex Rockwell
Special to The Guardian
Is there hope?
That is the cry of millions in the world today, as we hear constant discouraging and distressing news about COVID-19. And, while not using these exact words, many are asking themselves -
“In this sad, cruel, uncaring world, burdened down by the chains of addictions, missed opportunities, failures, rejections and loveless relationships, is there any hope”?
Many sadly believe that the answer is “No.” But wait, there’s a kind heavenly father up above, and He says “Yes - there is hope for all who will receive it. In the Book of Psalms, we are urged to “hope in God,” to “hope in His word,” and to “hope in His mercy.”
This hope is based on the finished work of Christ on the Cross, His physical resurrection from the dead, and on His promise to come again for His own and bring all things to a grand finale. Jesus’ promised in John 14:2,3 “…I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
There is a promise in Acts 1:10,11 “And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, You men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven.”
Paul also reminds us in Thessalonians that believers will be “caught up” when Jesus returns. Thessalonians 4:13-17) He promises in Corinthians that we shall be changed, and in Titus, Paul calls this wonderful promise of Christ’s second coming “THAT BLESSED HOPE.” The emphasis is on grace – God’s lavish favour on undeserving sinners.
Paul then points out three wonderful ministries of the grace of God. He tells us first that grace REDEEMS us. (Titus 2:14) That’s because we cannot provide our own salvation, though many try. Then second, he reminds us that the same grace that redeems us also RENEWS us. As we yield our lives to what God intended them to be, we become godly people. (Titus 2:12). God is reminding us that salvation is not only a change of position in God’s sight, but also a change of attitude, appetite and action. As He REDEEMS us and RENEWS, God teaches us to be the kind of people who glorify Christ by the way we live. No wonder millions love to sing “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound….”
Third and finally, the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to tell all true believers that Grace not only REDEEMS and RENEWS us, but wonder of wonders, there is something more. Grace also REWARDS us. And what is that reward?
He’s coming back to get us! This is not a day for crowns, this is a day for crosses. But thank God, there is a day of rewards coming. There will be “payday someday.” And that payday, those crowns, are tied to this third wonderful ministry of grace. Because verse 13 says, “looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”
What a great truth. What a wonderful hope for every believer. “Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Is there hope for this life and the next? Yes, there definitely is. To receive the benefits of that hope we are to acknowledge our fallen sinful nature, because “there is none righteous, no not one”, and because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Then, because of our spiritual condition, we are told in the Bible that only one, Jesus, can meet our needs. Then we are invited to receive this Jesus into our lives by believing. John was inspired to write, “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God, to those who believe in His name.” Thank God, there is hope!
Alex Rockwell is the host of Just a Minute, an inspirational thought for the day, heard in Charlottetown every weekday on radio station CFCY, 95.1 FM at 5 p.m., on radio station CIOG, 91.3 FM at 8:05 AM and 5:05 p.m., and on other radio stations in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The website is toolsforhope.com. A guest sermon runs regularly in Saturday’s Guardian and is provided through Christian Communications.