Concerning this point we shall here merely generalize, for this precious aspect of our subject will come up for consideration again in a later chapter. In a word, we may say that, the Hope of the Church lies in the future and not in the present, is heavenly and not earthly. To His disciples our Lord said, |In the world ye shall have tribulation| (John 16:30). This is the present portion of the Church which is His body: this is all that the believer is to expect from the world in which he is now living. We are not to be surprised if the world |hates| us, because it first hated our Divine Master. Said the apostle |Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.| Yea, we are assured that |all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.| The Lord's path to the Throne was via the Cross, and we are called to |follow His steps.| The Hope of the Church then lies not in this world, but above it; not in the present, but in the future.
At first sight it may appear strange, especially to unbelievers, that the Christian should speak of his hope. In contrast to the wicked who have |no peace,| the saint has a satisfying portion. The believer has already drunk of that |living water| of which those who drink shall |never thirst.| The believer is already in possession of |eternal life,| but he has not yet entered into the full and unhindered enjoyment of it -- that is still before him as the object of his hope. In one sense then, the Christian is satisfied, in another sense he is not. The believer already knows One, yea, is not indwelt by One who can satisfy him. He knows Christ, possesses Christ, enjoys Christ; but, as yet, he has not seen Christ. It is by faith (not feelings) that we know and enjoy Christ, but the more we know and enjoy Him thus, the more we long to behold Him -- |Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory; receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls| (1 Pet.1:8, 9).
|Yes, my brethren, believing in Christ, whom we have not seen, we love Him; we rejoice in Him with unspeakable joy; we receive the salvation of our soul. But to see Christ -- to have the salvation which He wrought out on the cross applied to our bodies as well as to our soul -- to have it perfected in our experience even as it respects our soul -- to have it consummated thus in all who are follow-partakers with us of Christ -- to be with Him, and with them, in our Father's house -- to behold His glory which the Father has given Him -- to appear with Him in glory when He appears -- to reign with Him over a ransomed and redeemed and happy creation -- to fulfill our part in the universal harmony of all in heaven and all in earth, when all shall bow the knee to Jesus, when every tongue shall own Him Lord, and all voices shall join to celebrate His praise, -- this, and far more than this -- far more than heart can conceive or tongue explain, is what we wait for; and, above all, we wait for Him whose return shall introduce us to all this perfect blessedness -- we wait for God's Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. HE IS OUR HOPE. We know Him now by faith as our Saviour, our Lord, our life, our peace, our joy, our all. AND HE IS OUR HOPE. He is plainly said to be so in 1 Tim.1:1 -- |Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ OUR HOPE.| And what He is thus in so many plain words expressly declared to be in this passage, He is shown to be by the uniform, unvarying testimony of Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Revelation (|Plain Papers on Prophetic Subjects| by W. Trotter ). Again, the Redeemer's Return is a |Blessed Hope| --