The Hope of Glory
The Hope of Glory
Colossians 1:27b - "...which is Christ in you, the Hope of glory."
Romans 8:37 - "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors in Him who loves us."
It has been about a year since The Lord put this message on my heart. It has taken this long for the words to surface in order to write this. I have been in a season of God emphasizing destiny. I believe that many of us have been walking under a false sense of identity. Which hinders the very power and nature of our destiny. Before I explain further I feel it is necessary to define "destiny". I fully believe that God has implanted within each of us, talents, gifts, and desires. But how we view ourselves and relate to those things will determine our identity. And our identity will set the course of our destiny. Do you believe you were created for greatness? Do you believe you are a co-heir with Christ? Do you believe that when The Father sees you, He sees a beloved Son or Daughter?
I think one of the biggest deficits of living life, is living without a sense of identity and purpose. Culture and society have no problem setting a course for our life. Which usually goes something like:
Graduate High School > Go to college > Start a career > Maybe start a family > Retire > ...?
While in some sense, there is nothing wrong with that. I believe identity is far more than what career path you choose. Destiny is more than growing up to be the Fire Fighter or First Grade teacher you always dreamed of being. You may have a gift and a passion for those things. But identity and destiny are different. I believe true identity is how well you know and value yourself. Apart from the influence of others. And true destiny is how you respond to life from your true identity. For instance, when we accept who we are in Christ, our identity becomes His. The Bible says we are transformed into His likeness already. But what does that mean? How do we know what that is? How do you define that?
Outside of a relationship with Him, I believe we are just people living in "The Matrix" for lack of a better description. We are oblivious to the reality surrounding our perceived reality. Thus I believe any identity you could have is already far from your true identity. And just like the movie (The Matrix) you would have to go through the process of discovering the truth for yourself. And that means seeking to know God is real. And more than a fairy tale or a religion. Sadly, I believe church culture breeds a false sense of identity worse than those who don't know any better. If fear is the worst spiritual disease, "religion" is close to tying for the win.
My whole Christian life I have heard countless sermons, countless altar calls, and everything in between. I have heard many different ideas, doctrines, and theology. Sometimes God is all loving. So much so that He would never send a person to a place called "hell" (which is missing the point of a relationship with Him to begin with). And I've heard people preach that God hates us all, and is so mad at us, that we will all pretty much evade the fires of "hell" by inches - IF - we choose Him. But He is more or less displeased with us no matter. The teaching I am most familiar with is the "defeated sinner" mentality. And it goes something like this:
"Jesus died for my sins, so I could have everlasting life. And if I accept that, I get to spend eternity in Heaven with Him. And between now and then, if I screw up, I can always come back to the cross and get my forgiveness."
There is truth to that statement, but it also leaves out the more important truth. Jesus died for a lot more than a ticket to Heaven! He died to get Heaven inside of us! To be like Him, and do what He did! He died so we could go beyond the cross, into a deep and loving relationship with Him. And alongside of that, claim an inheritance as His Sons and Daughters. Jesus said in John 10:37 "Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father". And if you study the Gospels closely, Jesus is known for saying "I only do what I see my Father doing, and I say only what the Father tells me to say". Yes Jesus died to clear up the issues that prevent an intimate relationship with Him, The Father, and Holy Spirit from happening. But He wants us to go beyond that. This is the identity and destiny that He intended for us. But we will never arrive if we stay back "there". Jesus said "Don't believe me unless I've done all these crazy and miraculous things". He didn't say "Believe me because I act like a Pharisee". And you can only know what to do to be different, by having a relationship where He talks to you. So you can know what it is to do, and what you should say. That's where miracles begin to happen. Because in order to get to the miracles, you have to get beyond the cross. And into a deep/intimate relationship with Him. Where it's always about His love, which is the power that produces the drastically different Christian life. Which includes the miraculous. But the point is always an identity of being loved. For you can't give what you don't have.
I always hear about how at the cross it is finished. And if we are talking about Jesus' actual work in finalizing the payment for us to inherit what He always wanted to give us, then yes. That was finished. But the cross is just a beginning. In fact, I think it signifies more of a beginning than a "finish". But we don't treat it that way. Why is the church body never satisfied? Why do we keep going back to church every Sunday, time and time again to hear a sermon that will "speak to us". So we can "get filled up for our week". I know you have heard that statement. I heard it this past weekend at church. In essence, what that is saying is:
"I'm living from Sunday to Sunday, barely getting by in this messed up world. My messed up life. Just so I can come back here and hear a message that I hope is for me. So I can get filled up a little bit, to get me through another week again".
It is a "defeatist" mentality. I'm broken and never gonna be fixed mentality. Some of us need Jesus to keep dying on the cross all over again, and we have to re-commit our life to Christ over and over again. We can never just be saved once and for all! We can never be forgiven! We can never just "move on" to the greater things. Paul the Apostle talked about this. How he had to keep going back over fundamental ideas and principles, when we should be graduating to greater things! Jesus Himself said that we would see and do greater things than Him! Where is it? When do we get to see it? Who is responsible for making that happen? Meanwhile the world is dying and going to hell in a hand basket. And the body of Christ is playing "pretend it doesn't exist". You can argue with me, but where are all the Spirit filled believers healing the sick, raising the dead, and driving out the evil in oppressed people? If you don't believe that is necessary then I challenge you to define Christianity for me based off the life of Jesus. What if we never find cures for all these diseases, but yet have the cure within us? What if we had medicine available that had NO side effects, that healed even fifty percent of all cancer cases? How many people would take that medicine! How much would that cost someone in our medical world? How much does it cost to lay hands on the sick and pray for that healing? Even if the result was the same fifty percent? What if EVERY believer was being that person! Did Jesus do that? Did He say we could do it also? That's just one example...
When do we allow the cross to do what it was supposed to do? When do we become more than conquerors? When do we finally rise up, Christ in us the HOPE of Glory? When do believers carry a form of godliness that STOPS denying it's power! And rather takes Heaven by force to advance the Kingdom of God! When do we stop needing to live under the broken, messed up, screwed up, never gonna get right, never gonna be healed, never gonna get over my past, never going to change, always going to be afraid, never going to be good enough, never going to amount to anything, not valuable enough mentality? Did He not pay the price so we could have His identity? Full of His power to change the world? To be the true salt and light we always preach about? So many church messages are aimed at managing a past lifestyle (sin) that was gone the moment we accepted Christ! But we never get past it, because it's always being held in front of our faces. We don't know how to advance into anything else, because that was all our mentors were taught. So it's all they know to preach maybe? We just stay in the same place. Because it is the only place we know. When faith says we should be stepping out of the boat.
Let's get real. Right now.
You ARE more than a conqueror. You ARE good enough. Christ reigns in YOU, the Hope of Glory! The Father loves you as His own Son and Daughter. We are seated with CHRIST in Heavenly places! All The Father has was given to the Son, and all He has was given to us. So if all authority has been given to the Son, do we not possess all authority? Your identity is not your past. It is not your fear. It is not your pain. It is not the way anyone has treated you or mistreated you. It's not based off ANY earthly value system. Your identity IS Christ. In you. The Hope of Glory. We are ever moving from faith to faith, glory to glory. If you just HAVE to keep striving for something, then strive for this: The Presence of God in the truth that He gives it to you, because He doesn't love anything else more than He loves you.
Why do the sick get healed? Why must the dead be raised? Why must evil spirits flee from the oppressed? Why must the Gospel be preached to all nations? Why do we take up our crosses and follow Him? Because when you realize how amazing He says you are, because of how much you realize He loves you... When you encounter that, and that abides in you, you begin to realize that the only destiny (what you do based off your identity) is to share that love - Christ's love - with a world you relate too. Because you came out of it. You know the aches, pain, and hopelessness that exists there. But you have found the cure. And it inhabits you. Those things need to happen because the love you possess is the power that changes the broken things of the world.
Our Bible's entitle a famous passage: "Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand". But who REALLY fed the multitude? Jesus gave the fish and bread to the Disciples. And the food multiplied in their hands, not His. Jesus clearly did this intentionally. Because anyone without faith would have argued with Him, that there was not enough food for that many. Which they started out saying in response to Jesus ridiculous assignment. They may have stopped slight of saying (logically) "You feed them if you think it's possible". It was the Disciple's faith in action that multiplied the food. Jesus just gave thanks for it. We need to simply receive the truth about who we are in faith. And let it multiply in our hearts, so we can give the miracle (His love in us, flowing out of us) to a great mass of people. So large that one would have to say (logically) "there is not enough love in the world to fix all this". When love is so large and faith is so deep, the result is miraculous!
The same way the Disciples fed multitudes (twice) is the same way we accept our true identity. It is how we live out our destiny. You accept the truth of what Jesus died to give you. In it's entirety. So we don't have to stay at the foot of the cross forever. That was never the purpose. If it were, He would still be hanging on it. So we could all gather around it and stare at Him for eternity. But He was taken down, and that cross is gone. And He isn't there anymore. He is right inside of you. We can't get hung up on religious ideas and fearful thinking anymore. What has that done for you lately? We can't leave our lives in the hands of pitiful self-thinking. I am convinced that the devil is happy about church. He likes when we gather in our buildings, isolating ourselves from the broken world. And how we keep to ourselves. Reliving all the reasons why we will never be more than filthy sinners who are waiting to die to embrace Heaven. Instead of embracing the life given to us by Him. And offensively attacking the forces of darkness with the power of God! Which includes a power and influence to do the world a greater justice. Which is His Kingdom come, His will be done, on EARTH - Yes. On EARTH. Just like it is in Heaven. Not us escaping Earth to get to Heaven.
When do we get to become more than conquerors? Why not now? When is Christ REALLY in us, the Hope of Glory? Why not now? Is the cross just a cover up for more work and effort exerted in the wrong places? Or can we choose now, today, to live out of the affections of His heart? Christ in you. What does that mean to you? Who are you? What is your destiny?