the gospel for “if only” believers
When the refrain of our life sounds with the note of cynicism and dissatisfaction, it is often the case that we have been lulled to sleep by hopelessness. This reduces our lives to one of survival. “If only” repeats in our head throughout the day as we move from moment to moment. “If only” there were no traffic, we had more money, better kids, better marriage, better job, better car, better education, the list can go on and on.
The “if only” becomes the phantom dream that is ever present but never real.
Yet for gospel awakened believers, there is hope that enters this mundane, hopeless stream of despair. The Old & New Testaments offer a hope that is not conditioned upon all the right circumstances coming together, but rather, the Scriptures offer a living hope that is fueled by our Lord’s resurrection life. It is a hope that is anchored in the One who tasted and overcame sin, death and despair that we might live hopeful lives in the midst of a despairing world.
In the midst of our hopeless world, Jesus channels the hope of his resurrection to us through his Spirit by virtue of his resurrected humanity. As creation flows smoothly down the stream of hopelessness and death, the Lord of new creation moves upstream against the current of despair and decay calling new life into existence. By hopefully moving upstream in our union with Christ, we are doing nothing short of proclaiming to the world, “repent and believe.” Enter the streams of baptism and enter the new creation.
The gospel of resurrection turns us around and with us pushes back against cynical believers, estranged church members, dying marriages, dying homes, dying economies and calls out to those who will listen. The gospel of resurrection is hope in the midst of uncertain waves. The gospel of hope encounters waves with confidence, not because the gospel makes life easy, but because it makes life worth living. The gospel is a living hope, not because Christians have it figured out, but because our Lord is a living Lord, who by virtue of his incarnation unites our hopeless humanity to his hope giving resurrected body.