There have been many promises that have been given to people through the pulpits and private conversations.  At the moment of conversion, there needs to be a brilliant light that shines forth and a quartet of angels singing audible praises, or at least something similar to that.  There are promises of Jesus filling the “cross-shaped” void within hearts and promises that happiness will consume the individual.  Pledges of perpetual temporal happiness and pledges of never having a bad day or missed credit card payment.  All this sounds too good to be true!  The problem with all of this is that it is either not entirely true or it misses out on what has been ensured for us.

 
The promise that we do have, the sure hope that we can cling to, is not related to temporal pleasures (although there is nothing wrong with enjoying life).  We are given the promise of provision and assistance through the Spirit. We are given the promise of heaven, but let’s not just stop there!  We are assured in the hope of resurrection and the hope of, as N.T. Wright* would say, a “life after life after death.”  For those that are in Christ, they can walk with assurance that no power, whether earthly or spiritual, can ever destroy us.  What a blessed assurance!  Martin Luther would write about this hope saying,

If the knowledge of sin or the fear of death should break in upon it, it is ready to hope in the Lord.  It does not grow afraid when it hears tidings of evil.  It is not disturbed when it sees its enemies.  This is so because it believes that the righteousness of Christ is its own and that its sin is not its own, but Christ’s, and that all sin is swallowed up by the righteousness of Christ.  This, as has been said above, is a necessary consequence on account of faith in Christ.  So the heart learns to scoff at death and sin and to say with the apostle, “O Death, where is thy victory?  O death, where is thy sting?  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” {I Cor. 15:55-57}.  Death is swallowed up not only in the victory of Christ but also by our victory, because through faith his victory has become ours and in that faith we also are conquerors.

It’s not about living your best life now.  Perfection and complete happiness does not come right now.  Donald Miller is right, “the complete climax of life doesn’t happen at conversion, it happens when we are reunited with God.”  And in that hope we can cling.

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*See NT Wright on ABC’s Nightline explaining this here.

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