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Sunday Considerations: Look Backward and Forward

Living between the two comings of Christ, Christians are to look backward and forward: back to the manger, the cross, and the empty tomb, whereby salvation was won for them; forward to their meeting with Christ beyond this world, their personal resurrection, and the joy of being with their Savior in glory forever. New Testament devotion is consistently oriented to this hope; Christ is “our hope” (1 Tim. 1:1) and we serve “the God of hope” (Rom. 15:13). Faith itself is defined as “being sure of what we hope for” (Heb. 11:1), and Christian commitment is defined as having “fled to take hold of … this hope as an anchor for the soul” (Heb. 6:18-19). When Jesus directed his disciples to lay up treasure in heaven, because “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21), he was saying in effect, as Peter was later to say, “set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Pet. 1:13).1

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4 ESV)

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  1. J. I. Packer, Concise Theology : A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House, 1995).
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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jeff September 3, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Interesting you mention the looking back & looking forward. I think John Piper addresses this in his book Future Grace, where he says (if my memory serves me right) something like we can be assured of God’s future grace because of what He’s done for us in the past.

2 Mark September 3, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Jeff,

That sounds right. I really appreciate the “debtor’s ethic” from Future Grace.

3 Jeff September 4, 2011 at 9:29 am

I hadn’t remembered that term, but then again it’s been a while since I read it.

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