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A New Hope

By: Scott Morton

Many believers today are confused by the idea of what the hope is for us during this dispensation. They have been taught many different things which contradict what the Apostle Paul clearly teaches us. He gives us the information which we need in order to be able to understand the hope we have as believers.

He lays out the issue of the hope as he is writing to Titus:

Titus 2:11-15

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; [13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [14] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. [15] These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

The Apostle Paul speaks about the hope the members of the Body of Christ has. He is distinguishing this hope here in verse 13 from the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The event which the Bible refers to as the Day of Christ is an important event for us, as this is when the Lord Jesus Christ is coming back for the church, bringing us to the heavenly places, and when we will be ruling and reigning with Him in the heavenlies.

While this is a true statement and a guarantee that we have, based on Philippians 1:6, 10 it is not the hope which we are looking for. He has clearly laid out this information for the Body of Christ and this is not what the true hope is. If it was the hope, there would not have been the word and used in Titus 2. The word and shows this is in addition to, which means the hope we have is a separate issue.

The Apostle Paul is speaking about the fact that we will receive a new, glorified body as the hope of the believer. The body which we have today is not something we would want to have to enter into eternity with. The body we have breaks down, as everyone who is reading this will be able to attest to. There are aches and pains which come about as a person gets older, which is a direct result of living in a fleshly body in a cursed creation.

Would it even be possible for the body we have today to last 1000 years? Or how about 10,000 years? The average life expectancy of an individual is under 80 years old. When individuals get close to 100, there are a number of health issues that have already developed and the person typically is not functioning in a manner like they were able to do before.

We need a glorified body which is going to be able to exist in the heavenly places. This is why the Apostle Paul references the change in the body we are going to receive:

1 Corinthians 15:51-52

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 

The Apostle Paul states he is telling them a mystery, which is something which had not been spoken of prior. There was nothing which had spoken of the body which we would receive as part of the resurrection, or the changing at the Day of Christ if we are still alive at that event. The fact that there is going to be a resurrection is an important fact which the Apostle Paul lays out for the members of the Body of Christ:

1 Corinthians 15:12-19

Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? [13] But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: [14] And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. [15] Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. [16] For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: [17] And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. [18] Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. [19] If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

The Apostle Paul identifies how important the resurrection is to the members of the Body of Christ. Without the reality of the resurrection, we would have nothing but misery, as the life which we are living now would be the only thing around.

The reality of this life is that it is nothing but misery. There is pain and sorrow associated with the things of this life. While many people will try to focus on the good things which can happen, the reality is there is so much more than just this life. Even those who accumulate a large amount of wealth only have it for this lifetime. They are not going to be able to take this with them after.

If there is no resurrection, then this is truly the end. We would only have this life and nothing to look forward to after. There is misery which comes from this type of thinking, especially as someone gets older and is closer to dying.

We have a different thought process on things. We know there is something for us after this life. We know that we have a hope of being with the Lord Jesus Christ in the heavenly places for all of eternity is a truly glorious thing. This is why there should not be the misery which occurs with individuals who walk around this world. This is why the Apostle Paul can describe the Day of Christ as being a comfort in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, as it truly is a comfort for those who are still alive. We know that we will be seeing those who have died when we get to heaven.

The Apostle Paul describes everything that we currently have as being vain if the resurrection is not true. He is right on this. Everything would be empty, as this would then be a false hope, leading us around by a bunch of lies. We know this is true, as God is not a liar (Romans 3:4). The truth He gives us with this is a comfort which we need to realize and focus on to get us through the day to day grind of this life.

The Apostle Paul does get into some things describing the body which we are going to receive. He tells these things to the Body of Christ so we will have the information we need to understand the hope.

1 Corinthians 15:38-50

But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. [39] All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. [40] There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. [41] There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. [42] So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: [43] It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: [44] It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. [45] And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. [46] Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. [47] The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. [48] As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. [49] And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. [50] Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

The Apostle Paul makes it very clear in this passage about how he is speaking of the new body which the members of the Body of Christ will receive. There are several different things which the Apostle Paul explains about these bodies. As he is discussing them, he starts out with an issue of the bodies not being all the same. He goes through the creation and discusses how each of these bodies is different. This is fairly easy for anyone to see, as we do not have the same body as a cat, a goldfish, or a penguin. Some who think evolution is true would speak of the similarities of the human body and the bodies of the different apes. While there are similarities because everything comes from one Creator, there are also many differences, which people do not want to focus on. It cannot be any clearer than a statement of all flesh is not the same flesh. There are differences, which the Apostle Paul is using to discuss the body which we are going to receive.

Using this pattern, the Apostle Paul starts to speak about bodies which are celestial (heavenly) and terrestrial (earthly). There is going to be a difference between these two bodies. This makes sense, as there are two different hopes. Israel has a hope of being on the earth reigning in the kingdom for all eternity. They are going to need a body which is going to be able to exist on planet earth for all eternity. The members of the Body of Christ have a heavenly hope. We are going to be ruling and reigning with Him in the heavenly places for all eternity. The body we are going to need will have to be able to exist in the heavenly places for eternity. This is a different body, which is why it becomes the hope we have.

The Apostle Paul starts to speak of the difference being around the issue of glory, as these two types of bodies are going to have a glory that is unique to them. In order to understand this, we will need to understand the meaning of glory. Below is the definition from Webster's 1828 Dictionary:

Glory

GLO'RY, n. [L. gloria; planus; hence, bright, shining. Glory, then, is brightness, splendor. The L. floreo, to blossom, to flower, to flourish, is probably of the same family.]

1. Brightness; luster; splendor.

The moon, serene in glory, mounts the sky.

For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory. 2 Peter 1.

In this passage of Peter, the latter word glory refers to the visible splendor or bright cloud that overshadowed Christ at his transfiguration. The former word glory, though the same in the original, is to be understood in a figurative sense.

2. Splendor; magnificence.

Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these. Matthew 6.

3. The circle of rays surrounding the head of a figure in painting.

4. Praise ascribed in adoration; honor.

Glory to God in the highest. Luke 2.

5. Honor; praise; fame; renown; celebrity. The hero pants for glory in the field. It was the glory of Howard to relieve the wretched.

6. The felicity of heaven prepared for the children of God; celestial bliss.

Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory. Psalm 73.

7. In scripture, the divine presence; or the ark, the manifestation of it.

The glory is departed from Israel. 1 Samuel 4.

8. The divine perfections or excellence.

The heavens declare the glory of God. Psalm 19.

9. Honorable representation of God. 1 Corinthians 11:8.

10. Distinguished honor or ornament; that which honors or makes renowned; that of which one may boast.

Babylon, the glory of kingdoms. Isaiah 13.

11. Pride; boastfulness; arrogance; as vain glory.

12. Generous pride.

It is clear from the definition which is given that there is an issue of brightness which is associated with the glory being spoken of. This is what the Apostle Paul had been mentioning in the passage, as he speaks of the differences with the sun, moon, and stars. There is a difference from our perspective of their brightness when we look up into the sky.

In a similar manner, there will be a difference in the glory for the members of the Body of Christ. While we all have the guarantee of being in the heavenly places for all of eternity, there will be a reward system which occurs at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Based on the gold, silver, and precious stones which we have built during our lives, we will receive a reward. This reward, which has to do with our ability to be able to reign in the heavenlies, is associated with a glory that is going to be given to it. It is going to be different from what everyone else receives because it is based on what we have done to follow the instructions which were given to us by the Apostle Paul during our lives.

This body will be a spiritual body, as it will be functioning according to where the blessings for us have been (Ephesians 1:3). A natural body, physical from what we currently understand, would never be able to do all of the things which have been promised to us. There needs to be this change which the Apostle Paul has been describing, which is the hope the believers have.

This hope is truly a wondrous thing. This is what should be motivating the members of the Body of Christ to be telling others about the gospel which saves today. We are waiting for this new body so we can exist for all of eternity in the heavenly places.



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