SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2014.
CHRIST OUR LIVING HOPE
‘For to this end we labour and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of them that believe,’ I Tim. 4v10.
THE apostle Paul draws the attention of his son in the Lord, Timothy to this very fact. That Christ is the hope of every believer, He is the chief corner stone and in Him is the salvation of all mankind. The Bible made it incontestable thus: ‘and in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved,’ Acts 4v12.
Therefore, Timothy, as a good minister and a believer, is called upon to have his eye, hope and trust permanently fixed on Christ. Jesus died and rose again, St Paul noted: ‘and if Christ hath not been raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins,’ I Cor. 15v17. But Jesus is alive and that gives us hope and more re-assuring is what He said to all believers: ‘and if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, `there’ ye may be also,’ John 14v3.
I think being in the presence of Jesus should be a thing of joy to the believer; we are no longer intimidated by the whims and caprices of men. His presence ushers a new wave of life and we enjoy eternal bliss thereafter.
It is unfortunate that in the time of Paul, many false teachers were found banding about a lot of inconsequential teachings. Prominent among them was what we read in I Tim. 4v1-3: ‘But the Spirit saith expressly, that in latter times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, `and commanding’ to abstain from meats, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by them that believe and know the truth.’ Notice, they were talking about avoidance of marriage and of tagging of food as clean and unclean.
Even today, a negation on marriage teaching has persisted but the scripture told us in the beginning God made them male and female. More so, He said: ‘it is not good for the man to be alone and He made a help meet fit for him,’ Gen. 2v18.
Interestingly, in the conversation between Peter and Cornelius, we had earlier been warned not to tag some food as clean or unclean, Acts 10v15. The undertone of such teaching was to make people think less of Christ the living hope of believers. Because once they are entangled with this sort of loose teaching, it will give room to people behaving anyhow and not falling back to the source of life. St Paul admonishes the young minister Timothy to focus on Christ, the living hope of every believer. We can appreciate what Jeremiah was labouring to put across in Jeremiah 10v1-16. He made caricature of those who depended on idols that are false instead of putting their hope in God, Who made heaven and earth. It is to such that the believer is called upon to shun if he or she must be in touch with heaven.My hope is built on nothing else, Than Jesus blood and righteousness, I dare not trust my sweetest frame, But only lean on Jesus name, On Christ the solid rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand 2x Ven. Ernest Onuoha Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.