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By Curtis Pugh

The children of God can be called children of hope for since the New Testament era they have been characterized by hope – which is faith in the promises of God toward the future. John wrote of this expectant faith saying: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is,” (1 John 3:2). Paul had this hope himself and wrote that it was common to all the saints saying: “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself,” (Philippians 3:20-21).

This hope of the appearance in the clouds of Jesus Christ to catch away His bride and her friends is clearly stated: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord,” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). These verses say nothing about Christ's return to the earth, but to the clouds only.

But there is a danger: some teach that the children of God do not have that hope. They do not believe in the imminent return of Christ in the air. Instead of looking for Christ, they are looking for the anti-Christ and believe that the Lord's churches are going to endure the time of Jacob's trouble (the tribulation). No catching-away to meet Christ in the air for them. No moment by moment expectation of the possibility of the Lord's return. They think they shall be well warned of Christ's return and so need not be hopeful or in readiness for that prophesied event.

What a joyless life it must be for those who live in anticipation of bad things instead of hope in Christ and the preciousness of His soon return. Are these not doing the same thing as those in Paul's day whom he said, “...have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some,” (2 Timothy 2:18). I do not mean these have denied the yet future resurrection, but as “hope deferred maketh the heart sick..” (Proverbs 13:12) what else can the taking away of hope do? A hopeless faith is an overthrown faith! The zeal, expectancy and excitement of children when a parent who has been away is coming home can be compared to what ought to be in our lives! Jesus said, “...I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also,” (John 14:3).

Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726

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