Three Keys to the Christian Life
Rejoice, Endure, and Persevere
"Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer" (Romans 12:12).
Such a simple verse is a door into the victorious Christian life. Let's delve into these three matters, starting with Rejoice in Hope.
Hope embodies the entire purpose of God centered on our wonderful Savior Jesus Christ, who is our living Hope:
"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ according to the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ our HOPE;" (1 Tim 1:1)
JESUS HIMSELF is our HOPE. To rejoice in hope simply means to enjoy this Christ every day. Are you discouraged in your self or in your circumstances? We all get down from disappointments. But Christ is the one who conquered the greatest enemy, death, by His resurrection:
Peter was a person who often failed, such as when he denied the Lord three times. Yet in his epistle he said:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy caused us to be born again to a living HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Pet 1:3)
Christ not only rose from the dead, but in resurrection He imparted Himself into us through faith, raising our deadened spirit from the dead:
"You were made alive when you were dead in transgressions and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world,..... But God, being rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.." (Ephesians 2:1-5)
Thus the living Hope Himself, Jesus Christ, is dwelling in us! What a hope! Hope means our future is secure and wonderful. Hopeless is just the opposite. When we touch the life of Jesus in our spirit, we get infused with Hope. This causes us to rejoice.
Having Christ in us means that whatever situation we are in today, it is hopeful. Think of the apostle Paul in prison in Rome. He was there unjustly, for proclaiming the gospel of Christ. No doubt the prison was terrible, and prospects may have seemed gloomy. Yet what did Paul say?
"For I know that this will turn out to my salvation, through your prayers and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and HOPE, that I will in no way be disappointed, but with all boldness, as always, now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Philip 1:19-21)
His hope was to have the very Christ in him to be magnified, made great and enlarged, while he was in prison. Hope for him did not entail a mere release from prison, but Christ being lived out, even in the gloomiest circumstance. How about you? Often prayer for us entails begging the Lord to free us from trouble. Rejoicing in hope, however, means Christ in us gets expressed, displaying His resurrection power and divine virtues through us, regardless of how bad the situation is. This is a great key to victory.
Colossians, perhaps the letter that infuses us with the highest view of Christ and God's purpose says:
"to whom God was pleased to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the HOPE of glory." (Col 1:27)
Glory means God's riches get magnified and expressed through us. Christ in us is the hope of glory. Ultimately, Christ in us grows and infuses and saturates our entire being with Himself, until the day Christ returns, when our whole being, spirit, soul and even our body, is filled with Christ, and we express His glory. This is our hope. It is not just to be rescued from bad situations. It is not a trip to heaven. Hope is God Himself filling us and expressing Himself through His believers, so He can reign in us and through us in the coming age of the Kingdom of God on earth. What a hope! In this we rejoice!
"..be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, to the end that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be strengthened to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and height and depth, and to know Christ’s love which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3:16-19)
"he comes in that day to be glorified in his saints and to be admired among all those who have believed," (2 Thess 1)
"...we ourselves also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for sonship, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in HOPE, but hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for that which he sees? But if we hope for that which we don’t see, we wait for it with patience." (Rom 8:23-25)
" I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them....They lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years." (Rev 20:4)
Christ our Hope: A Song
- Hymn: Christ is the hope of glory, my very life is He
Christ is the hope of glory, my very life is He, He has regenerated and saturated me; He comes to change my body by His subduing might Like to His glorious body in glory bright!
Part 2: Enduring in Afflictions
- Three Keys to the Christian Life: Part 2
Romans 12:12 shows the three keys things in a life that is pleasing to God, satisfying to us, and a defeat for God's enemy.