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Reason for Hope
Here is why it is amazing. Judgment day—the fact that Jesus is coming back to put the world right—sounds great when you think of the end of oppression, the end of genocide, the end of war, the end of disease, hunger, and death. Oh my, if there is no judgment day, what hope is there for the world? But, if there is a judgment day, here is the question: What hope is there for you and me?
What Hope Is There?
Imagine that for one day everything you did and even everything you thought was put up on a monitor, and every image of your mind for a day was recorded, and you didn’t know it so you just had your regular day. The next day it is put up all around the world on the Internet, on YouTube, twenty-four hours of your thought life. What would happen? You would die of shame.
If there is a judgment day, here is the question: What hope is there for you and me?
Then what would it be like to actually appear before God, with all the excuses, all the self-denials, all the things that you have ever said to try to justify your self-absorption, your self-centeredness, your cruelty—all the things that are in your life that you have used to excuse and justify the way in which you live—but suddenly, they all fall off because you know God is seeing you all the way to the bottom? What hope is there? How could you call a day like this a hope—a blessed hope?
The Reason and Answer
Here is the answer. The only reason we have a right to hope—to see the second coming of Jesus as a blessed hope—is this. The Heidelberg Catechism asks this question: “What comfort is it to you that Christ shall come again to judge the living and the dead?” Answer: “That in all afflictions and persecution with uplifted head I may wait for the Judge from heaven, who has already offered himself to the judgment of God for me, and has taken away for me all curse.”
The only reason that Paul, and you and I, can see the second coming of Jesus Christ as hope for the world and hope for us—the only reason we can see it as blessed—is because we have a Judge who came to be judged. He has already been here. He died on the cross. He took our punishment in our place.
We have the Judge who was judged. And therefore your judgment day is actually already in the past. Do you know that? God “made him to be sin who knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21). He judged sin in Jesus. We died in him, so that all we have for the future is a blessed hope.
Live in that hope! Let it shape the way in which you live in the world.
This post is an adapted excerpt from a larger article.
This post appears with permission from Redeemer City to City where you'll find more resources from Dr. Tim Keller.
Copyright © 2001 by Timothy Keller, © 2009 by Redeemer City to City.
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