RELIGION COLUMN: Transferring our hopeBy Staff Reports Published 1:50pm Tuesday, October 29, 2013
By Jake McCall
Turbulent times bring with them a fresh need for hope and assurance. When all is well, I am not forced to hope, but when all is not well, I turn to hope.
But what if my hope is in something that is not certain? What if my hopeful next step is to plant my feet on shaky, unstable ground? Is your hope in an upcoming election? Is your hope in a political shift or a moral shift? If so, then we are hoping in way too much that is uncertain and unstable.
The good news is that we do not have to do that. What if we could put our hope in something that has already happened? If it has already taken place, then nothing can be more certain, and nothing can be more stable. So I present to you a certain hope: the Ascension of Christ. The best way to understand this perfect and certain hope is to recognize a cosmic battle that we’ve entered into: the cosmic battle that began in the Garden of Eden.
When the devil entered into the Garden of Eden as a serpent, he brought us into this battle between himself and God. He came there to take away the good things that were given to mankind, and he succeeded. He took away our fellowship with God, he took away our righteousness and he took away our dominion over the earth.
When Jesus descended to earth through being born, we were a huge part of his purpose. But so that we do not overlook a central part of his coming, 1 John 3:8 says, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”
And because of the very real and overwhelming presence of evil that we see all around us today, it is easy to miss the certain hope that remains through the victorious nature of Christ’s ascension. When Christ rose from the grave and ascended into heaven, he made it clear to the devil and all that are on the side of evil that, though the enemy gave his best effort at defeating God— to the point of crucifying the Messiah on the cross—God has won.
Christ’s ascension was a victory march to his throne. Ephesians 4:8-12 tells us that at his ascension, Jesus took back all that the devil took from mankind in the garden and distributes these good gifts back to his Church through the Holy Spirit. His ascension was also a declaration that his kingdom was not of this world. Therefore, the uncertainty of this world and the uncertainty of our nation do not affect the stability of the kingdom of Christ.
I have three young children, and I plan to do everything in my power to create a safe and promising environment for their future. In other words, I would love for them to live in a free, prosperous and God-honoring country, and would gladly fight for that, but putting my hope in that would be foolish.
However, if I put my hope in the kingdom of Christ, and transfer that hope to the next generation, that would be wise. The Ascension of Christ gives us a solid hope in the eternal reign of a very good kingdom with a very good king who will soon return again to finish off all that is not good.
—Jake McCall is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. He is the pastor at Grace Fellowship Presbyterian Church. His column appears each Thursday.