Going Deeper: Hope – Session 6

Hope: Our Glory

An unexpected week away, when one sister loses her voice, brings us to this place. Our last session Going Deeper into Hope. The final teaching in a two year journey of delving deeper into faith, its actions, and what it means to love God and love others.

Have you gathered a spiritual sibling or two to talk with? Do you have your Bible? journal? pen? Let’s wrap this up.

Father God, You have shown us such glorious things on this journey, open our hearts to You and one another as we listen to what You have for us today.

Read Reflection Scripture:

…Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Colossians 1:27 ESV

In your reflection time, how did you see Christ in you as the hope of glory?

Christ in you… Let’s begin by exploring the Greek word translated in.

en — a primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), i.e. a relation of rest… 1. In, by, with etc.

— Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon

Christ in, by, with you, a fixed position, at rest — not going anywhere — no matter your place, time, or state.

How is His fixed position in, by, with you the hope of glory, praise, honor?

Christ in us, no matter our place, time, or state, blesses us with glory in so many ways. Primarily because of all He has done for us by faith.

Read 1Corinthians 15:56-58

What is our hope of glory with Christ in us? How should we respond to this hope?

He is our victory over sin and death. Because Christ is our fixed position of victory, we can be steadfast and immovable in the fight of faith. Confident the work we do for Him is never, never, never in vain!

No matter what it looks like to the world or feels like to our flesh, the work He calls us to is a guaranteed hope of glory because of Jesus. Just like His crucifixion looked like a defeat, it was in reality a victory displayed in His resurrection.

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.

1Corinthians 15:17 ESV

It is the power of His resurrection which gives us the hope of glory.

Read 2Corinthians 5:17

In Christ, what is the hope of glory?

In Christ we are new creations. Whatever we did in the old self to mar our souls through rebellion against God has been done away with. It passed away, died with Jesus on the cross. Just as He was resurrected to new life, so are we.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20 ESV

Brand new, born again, no painful past, only the hope of glory with Him.

So many more Scriptures to consider when it comes to the hope of glory because of His fixed position at rest with, by, and in us.

Do you have Scriptures to add which reveal the hope of glory in Christ?

Stacy says:

A lotus blossoming in a swamp of weeds—that’s my dear friend among the girls in the village.

Song of Solomon 2:1 The Message

In the quiet morning meditation I read Solomon’s description of the one he loved. A lotus flower? I didn’t know what the flower looked like and my curiosity was peaked. As I typed the word in the search engine a simple pencil drawing of the lotus flower was revealed. Wait. What? I have seen this flower before. Just this week my niece sent sweet thank you words in a card and drew lotus blossoms on either side.

At this point, I was taken aback and have to know more. It turns out the lotus flower is aquatic. Its seed begins to take root underneath the water in the mud and muck. Slowly it grows until the stem reaches the water’s surface and blooms. It is an ancient symbol of new birth and resurrection.

God blessed me with a literal picture of my hope of glory. Every season, struggle, and pain in my life is becoming new. There are things taking root in the darkness of mud and muck. Areas of growth unrevealed at this point. But in His faithfulness each will rise to the surface and bloom in its perfect time.

Can you see it? The day you’ll walk with him in the water and along the way He’ll point to what was once ugly sin or hurt and whisper, “Remember that one? Remember when you thought it would never bloom? Look at it now, your hope of glory.”

Faith in Jesus, the Hope of Glory.

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.

Romans 6:4-6 ESV

All which disgraces us before God is washed away, redeemed, crucified, in Christ Jesus. No longer enslaved by sin or its influence, no longer maimed by its wounds, we are free to serve Him in His victory. Oh my, what a glory is ours in Jesus!

In the Reflection Thoughts we considered our opinions and judgments of others, God, and ourselves in Jesus. Is your view of these always glorious? What did you discover about the way you view your hope of glory or anyone’s hope of glory in Christ?

Do you still have some work to do spiritually when it comes to understanding what it means for you to have Christ in you? Explain.

The Reflections Thoughts included the rewriting of our Reflection Scripture using the New Testament definition of the Greek translated as glory.

Christ in you, the hope of God always having a good opinion concerning you.

When we add the Greek translation of in it reads like this.

Christ’s fixed position at rest in you, not going anywhere — no matter your place, time, or state — the hope of God always having a good opinion concerning you.

Is there some place, time, or state of mind you think changes God’s opinion of you? Why?

We must understand the power of Christ taking up residence within us, and the new identity we have as one of His new creations.

Judging ourselves or others as unworthy of a good opinion in Christ is to deny the very weighty work Christ did on the cross and demeans the significance of His resurrection. The law doesn’t make us fit for glory, it only reveals our flaws, frailties, and failures to serve our Creator by loving Him and those He made. Our only hope for glory is Christ, but when we deny who we truly are in Him, who Scripture says we are, and refuse to see His potential glory in others we put ourselves in a very dangerous position. At odds with the gospel.

Carol says:

I usually imagine God looking down at me constantly shaking His head at my foolishness. Seeing only my lack of faith and trust: Will she ever learn?

The crazy thing is, He has told me how He sees me. He calls me Treasured Carol, Treasured Song of Joy. The dictionary defines carol as “an old round dance with singing” and “a song of joy and mirth.” Mirth being gladness revealed with laughter (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Ed.).

The name He gives me paints a very different picture from what I imagine. In Christ, He sees me with great joy, He laughs with gladness and His heart dances. The psalmist’s words come to mind when I think about it: Such knowledge is too wonderful for me! It is high… I cannot attain it (Psalm 139:6).

It’s been difficult for me to receive this name because I feel I cause Him more sorrow than joy. I don’t see myself as someone to be treasured and guarded, but more like one who should be discarded with disgust.

Yet when I see me from His perspective — the supernatural view of Christ in, with, and by me — then I just might be a treasured song of joy. Someone His precious Son worked hard to redeem. One for whom His infinite power and nature was poured out for. Worthy of a great price.

I am Treasured Carol because the Father told Him to fetch me from the muck and mire I was buried in, and His Son paid a very high price to do just that.

Father God sees all the ones Jesus died for in this light.

Christ in you, the hope of glory!

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory and the lifter of my head.

Psalm 3:3 ESV

He raises our heads from shame to receive His glory and shields our hearts to accept the potential of His glory in the lives of others.

What a glorious, glorious God!

Prayer of Praise:

How did praising God as Glorious open up your heart to Christ as the hope of glory?

Read the following words from Psalm 96 out loud, to get a glimpse of His glorious nature as revealed to the psalmist:

Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth!

Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!

For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.

For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens.

Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts!

Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!

Psalm 96:1-9 ESV

Carol says:

Psalm 96 helped me put words to my praise, because when it comes to praising God as Glorious I fail in so many ways to exalt Him in the manner He deserves.

Some attributes of God are so ethereal… other than… different from what we experience in this world… in the natural realm… we don’t have words for them. I’ve never fully experienced the extent of His glorious nature so it’s hard to wrap my mind around what it means for Him to be Glorious.

The words of the psalmist help me to “ascribe” to Him the glory due His name. Because right now… in this flesh… in my finite state… I fall far short of giving Him the praise He is worthy of as our Glorious God…

The way of salvation is His glory and our only hope of glory.

In the Word:

Read Colossians 1:24-2:4

Here we read our Reflection Scripture in context. Why did Paul rejoice?

Paul rejoiced in his sufferings for the sake of the church because God made him a minister, a steward of God’s Word to make it fully known. The Greek for word is logos, the same word John used for Jesus’s name in the gospel he wrote. Jesus, the Word made flesh, this is what Paul was called to make fully known.

What is the mystery God has chosen to make known?

Jesus is the revelation of the mystery of all of Scripture. What was hidden for ages until now. The riches of this glorious mystery is: Christ in you, the hope of glory. God is sharing the mystery of the promised Messiah with the whole world. The blessing promised through Abraham and played out through the sons of Jacob until it became reality.

A mystery formerly hidden, Jesus is the great Aha! moment which Paul proclaimed. Warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, struggling and working with all God’s power available to him to make known the mystery and present everyone he ministered to mature in Christ at His return.

According to this passage, what does maturity in Christ look like and how do we unlock the hidden treasures of the wisdom and knowledge in Christ?

Maturity in Christ is demonstrated by hearts encouraged and knit together in love. It is through this supernatural love of others in Christ that we unlock the riches of full assurance of understanding with all its wisdom and knowledge. Loving others as Christ loves us is what gives us confidence in the gospel and protects our hearts from being drawn away by lies.

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.

1John 4:16-17 ESV

Paul hoped nobody would miss the truth of the mystery revealed and be deluded or led astray by the lies floating around in the world. Lies which steal God’s glory and ours.

What are some of the lies which cause people to miss the gospel or be led astray?

  • There is no God.
  • We came into being by accident.
  • There is only the natural and physical realm — no supernatural forces.
  • God no longer does miracles.
  • God only speaks in Scripture.
  • If you aren’t blessed materially your faith is lacking.
  • A good God would not allow bad things to happen.

In what way can we share in Paul’s hope for Believers reaching full maturity in Christ? How is this hope our glory?

We can share in Paul’s hope by seeking to grow in Christ ourselves and by proclaiming the gospel in love as he did. Through the sanctification process, growing in the knowledge and grace of Christ, we become His glory by becoming more like Him. And those with whom we share the gospel and help mature become His glory and ours. They are part of the harvest we bring in. In both cases, we find favor before the Father and hear: Well done…

Read Romans 8:12-18

Paul tells us our present sufferings pale in comparison with the glory to be revealed. It’s not even worth counting.

Can you imagine a glory greater than your suffering? Can you imagine facing or dealing with suffering as if it were not even worth considering because of what is on the other side when we are in Christ?

What kind of suffering is hardest for you? physical? emotional? spiritual? relational?

There is no suffering you can endure which Christ did not already undergo for you, for your glory.

What is the hope Paul speaks of in regard to suffering? And how does our suffering lead to glory?

The hope is we will suffer as children of God, confident of our adoption as sons, and live like Jesus did. For the coming glory far outweighs anything in the world.

When facing suffering and fear we put our hope in the unseen Spirit and the unseen inheritance of adoption which moves us to call God: Dad. We have the same hope as Jesus, the love of the Father working all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

We are heirs provided we suffer like Jesus, sacrificing our lives out of love for others. This fills what is “lacking” in His body (Colossians 1:24), the church. It is what He is waiting for — the full measure of Believers to come (2Peter 3:9). As we grow in His grace we move toward that fulfilling by loving others into the body. The hope is the maturing and completion of the church: Go and make disciples.

Our suffering leads to death of the flesh so we may be wholly led by the Spirit, just like Jesus. When we suffer as Jesus did, in obedience to the Father, we glorify the Father by loving others as He calls us to.

Before His arrest, Jesus told the disciples what was about to happen, and after He told them these things …he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you…” (John 17:1 ESV).

Bringing glory to the Father through obedience is the glory of His children too. When we trust in His victory, His work on the cross, Christ brings glory to the Father by our faithfulness. Which is our glory too.

Read 2Corinthians 4:17-18

Again, Paul describes our current afflictions as light and momentary, but they are preparing for us an eternal weight of glory, honor, and praise.

What kind of glory is an eternal weight of glory?

The Greek translated as weight means “tremendous weight, a high point on a scale of extent” (Dictionary of Biblical Languages) and “anything pressing one physically” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary). This is a weight of glory which brings us to our knees before God because we know He alone is the reason we are so blessed to glorify Him eternally. It is a humbling glory, a weighty glory. One that magnifies God as the source of any honor we receive.

How are we to approach our trials and difficulties in this life?

We are to look at our difficulties and afflictions as temporary: And it came to pass… As in pass right on by.

Our afflictions are not only fleeting, but purposeful. Each trial doing a work in us for His glory, like the blessing and satisfaction of being in His courts (Psalm 65:4). Everything in Christ working out His goodness and holiness, the eternal weights of glory.

Carol says:

God has shown me over the years how He allowed and used my afflictions and pain for His glory.

Afflictions of my own making, those brought on by my own sin, were a means to break self-righteous pride and arrogance in me. A breaking required for me to accept His grace.

The work He does through me since my deliverance, rebirth, His call on my life and desire to use me to share His truth with others in light of my sins, reveals the greatness of His grace and salvation.

When my own choices led me to put up with the sins of another and caused me to lay down my own desires left me feeling foolish, He showed me how He did the same for me. Choosing to love me, laying down His life for mine. My season of self-reproach turned into praise for His crazy love.

I’ve also come to identify physical pain as an opportunity to identify with Him in what He suffered for me. The first time I experienced this change of perspective, I had slipped stepping out of the shower. My full weight fell on my shin which landed on the bottom metal rail of the glass door frame. In my pain, thoughts went directly to Him. Instead of crying out in my own agony, I silently gave thanks for what He endured for me…

I’ve come to see His work in my suffering as a means to grow deeper in my knowledge of who He is and who I am before Him.

When we begin to truly walk with Him in our afflictions, we start to see everything differently. All becomes Christ in us — the hope of glory. His glory.

Read Romans 4:13-25

God’s promise to Abraham — that he and his descendants would be heirs of the world — came through the righteousness of faith, not the law.

Why is it based on faith and not the law?

The promise depends on faith so it may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring. The law came much later, through Moses. Abraham received God’s promise apart from the law, it was based on his faith and hope in God to keep His promises, not on man’s own faithfulness to keep the law.

In hope against hope, Abraham set his faith on the God who gives life to the dead and calls into existence things that do not exist.

What was Abraham’s hope against hope? What result did it have on his faith?

Abraham hoped in the promise of becoming the father of nations, when from the world’s perspective he had no hope at all. His wife was barren and he was one hundred years old, as good as dead himself. In hope he believed against hope… the hope of having even one child was set against having so many offspring they became nations. Pretty outrageous.

As Abraham hoped against hope his faith grew and he gave glory to God. He was fully convinced God would do what He promised, that is why his faith is counted as righteousness.

So shall your offspring be. Abraham’s offspring are those who hope against hope like him.

There was another moment in Abraham’s life when hope was pressed against hope.

Read Genesis 22:1-8

What hope against hope do you see Abraham struggling with in these verses?

Abraham’s hope against hope: The future generations of the nations promised by God coming to fruition through Isaac set against the hope of doing the will of God by sacrificing Isaac as a burnt offering. He wrestled with the hopes connected with Isaac’s life against obedience to God, which looked like a destruction of the first hope.

Within the second hope of obeying God was the hope of God resurrecting Isaac after Abraham sacrificed him (Hebrews 11:19). Abraham’s faith was in the God he knew. The one who gave life to the dead. He trusted God to do what He promised, even when it looked like He was taking away the only hope for the promise to be fulfilled. In hope he believed against hope…

How did Abraham’s hope become his glory? Does it speak to your own life and struggle with hope?

Stacy says:

From the moment I knew I was pregnant with each of my children, hope swelled. I hoped they would be healthy. I hoped they would find godly relationships in friends and loved ones. I hoped they would make good decisions and succeed in a career they enjoyed.

Above all else, I hope they love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. This hope undergirds all my parenting, and there are seasons, from the outside looking in, I am failing miserably. Because they make yucky choices and put themselves in situations that have lasting consequences.

The tough hope against hope lesson for me is surrendering to the truth that no matter what it looks like from the outside, if God allows it He is using it to bring them closer to Him. I believe each of my children are gifts, and I am chosen to be their momma because God knows this is exactly where they need to be to find Him. Not because of who I am, maybe more so because of my shortcomings.

Accepting all I hoped my kids would be may not flesh out the way I hoped in order that they would one day be God-lovers is a true wrestling match of hope against hope.

Abraham’s faith in God and his willingness to wrestle with God, hope against hope, gave him the place of honor as father of the faithful. Through him a long line of faith wrestlers was born — more than the stars in the sky and the sands of the seashore. So shall his offspring be.

Hope is fuel for faith in the God who gives life to the dead and calls into existence things which never before existed. We bring our nonexistent hopes to Him, despite how dead or unreasonable they look, because He is a God who does the unreasonable, the ludicrous. He sent His Son in the flesh for sin, and then raised Him up for our justification.

How can we not hope for the craziest things in Him? The most unreasonable dead looking hopes? He is a God who does outlandish things in the name of faith.

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

Romans 8:32 ESV

Who else in Scripture wrestled with God hope against hope? How did their hope become glory?

Esther set the hope of not dying when she went in uninvited before the king against the hope of her place in the kingdom for just such a time as this, to save her people. Her hope against hope gave her the faith to say: If I perish, I perish. Her glory was the salvation of her people.

Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane hoped for the cup to be taken from Him, He hoped for another way, but it was set against the hope of doing His Father’s will not His own. His glory is our glory too: The way of salvation established. The means of our righteousness and victory over sin.

Each put their faith in God even when it set hope against hope. In each one faith increased and the Father was glorified, which brings His people glory too.

We began Going Deeper into Hope considering whether we believed we would see the Lord in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13). We asked: Does He fulfill our current hopes in this life or is the hope He promises only for heaven?

Now that we’ve come near the end of the study, do you believe you will see the Lord in the land of the living? What is your hope against hope? Can you see it bringing you glory by glorifying the Father?

Wrestling with Hope

Based on the premise of faith being sure of what we hope for (Hebrews 11:1) and Jesus telling Thomas in his doubt: Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe (John 20:29), we have been wrestling with hope through the underlying faith and hope expressed in the Beatitudes.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

This week we considered the sinking sand of our own opinions of ourselves.

On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand…

What did God reveal to you? Was there a place of guilt and shame you were able to exchange for Solid Rock?

Condemnation is a hope killer. It robs us of the glory Holy Spirit is working in us and others too. When we condemn ourselves we deny the power of Christ in us. It is as if we are saying, “My failure is more powerful than Christ. His sacrifice just isn’t enough for the mess I’ve made.” The same is true when we find ourselves condemning others. When we are quick to judge another, especially brothers and sisters in Christ, we basically refuse to acknowledge the power of Christ in them.

Paul spoke clearly to the Romans about this very thing.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:1-2 NIV

Condemning ourselves and others enslaves us to the law of sin and death. When we choose love we acknowledge the glory Holy Spirit is working in each of us. One that sets us free to hope and hope some more.

How did you complete this week’s beatitude?

Blessed are those who fail, for_______________________________.

Carol says:

I tend to stand on my own abilities which I know are not anything substantial. I fail to stand firmly in my weaknesses trusting in Christ’s power in me to do what He calls me to.

What I realize now is:

Fear of failure denies Christ in me.

Defining my success denies Christ in me.

Both these attitudes set me up to fail…

With each failure to trust in Him and His power in my weakness, the conviction of failing to act faithfully fortifies my faith. I do not want to miss the next opportunity. I do not want to feel His conviction again!

Blessed are those who fail, for their faith will be fortified.

As you continue to listen for beatitudes of faith and hope consider the diamonds forming in each of us. One day the Father will gently blow away all the remaining dust, and Hope will shine in all its glory.

We’ve come to the end of our study of Faith In Action, exploring what it means to love God and love others through ten specific faith actions. We’ve even gone deeper into each one: Believe, Pray, Trust, Obey, Love, Respect, Share, Give, Encourage, and Hope.

All the studies are available on the blog. Please continue to return to Sister Talk: Faith and explore all the acts of faith and their Going Deeper counterparts.

We’ll start a new journey near the beginning of the new year.

Father, Son, Holy Spirit, help us embrace and hope in the glory You are preparing for each one of us.

[Feature Image Photo by Edward Cisneros on Unsplash]

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