Rejoicing in Our Hope
“[There is] hope of the everlasting life which God, who cannot lie, promised before times long lasting.”—TITUS 1:2.
CAN YOU ANSWER?
Why do we know that there is joy in heaven when one of the anointed keeps his integrity until death?
How is the hope of the other sheep connected with that of the anointed?
If we want our hope to come true, what “holy acts of conduct” and “deeds of godly devotion” should we show?
1. How can the hope Jehovah has given us help us to endure?
JEHOVAH is “the God who gives hope,” said the apostle Paul. Paul continued by saying that Jehovah can give us joy and peace so that we “may abound in hope with power of holy spirit.” (Romans 15:13) If this hope is clear in our minds, we will be able to endure difficult situations and keep our joy and peace. Difficult situations are like storms. During the storms of life, our hope is “an anchor for the soul, both sure and firm,” whether we are of the anointed or of the other sheep. (Hebrews 6:18, 19) By holding on to our hope, we will not “drift away.” Our hope will help us to keep our faith strong and not to have doubts.—Read Hebrews 2:1; 6:11.
2. What two hopes do Christians today have? Why are the “other sheep” interested in the hope of the anointed?
2 Christians living at this time of the end have one of two hopes. Those of the “little flock” who are on earth have the hope of immortal life in heaven. They will be kings and priests with Christ in his Kingdom. (Luke 12:32; Revelation 5:9, 10) The “other sheep,” who are much greater in number, have the hope of living forever on a paradise earth ruled by the Messianic Kingdom. (John 10:16; Revelation 7:9, 10) The other sheep should never forget that to be saved, they need to support Christ’s anointed brothers who are still on earth. (Matthew 25:34-40) The anointed will receive their reward, and the other sheep will certainly receive theirs too. (Read Hebrews 11:39, 40.) So let us first learn more about the hope that God gives to the anointed.
THE “LIVING HOPE” OF ANOINTED CHRISTIANS
3, 4. How does Jehovah give the anointed “a new birth to a living hope”? What is that hope?
3 The apostle Peter wrote two letters to anointed Christians. He called the anointed “the ones chosen.” (1 Peter 1:1) Peter’s letters help us learn more about the wonderful hope that the little flock have. In the first letter, he wrote: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for according to his great mercy he gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an incorruptible and undefiled and unfading inheritance. It is reserved in the heavens for you, who are being safeguarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last period of time. In this fact you are greatly rejoicing.”—1 Peter 1:3-6.
4 Jehovah gives “a new birth” to the limited number of Christians he chooses to rule with Christ in heaven. Jehovah uses his holy spirit to adopt them as his sons and to appoint them as future kings and priests with Christ in heaven. (Revelation 20:6) This “new birth” makes it possible for them to have “a living hope.” What is that hope? Peter said that it is the type of everlasting life that can never be destroyed and is reserved for them in heaven. This wonderful hope gives the anointed good reason to rejoice. But their hope can only come true if they continue to be faithful.
5, 6. Why must anointed Christians remain faithful?
5 In his second letter, Peter told anointed Christians to do all they can to remain faithful so that they will receive their heavenly reward. (2 Peter 1:10) They must keep showing such qualities as faith, godly devotion, brotherly affection, and love. Peter said: “If these things exist in you and overflow, they will prevent you from being either inactive or unfruitful.”—Read 2 Peter 1:5-8.
6 Christ said to the anointed elders in the congregation of Philadelphia, in Asia Minor: “Because you kept the word about my endurance, I will also keep you from the hour of test, which is to come upon the whole inhabited earth, to put a test upon those dwelling on the earth. I am coming quickly. Keep on holding fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.” (Revelation 3:10, 11) The “crown of glory” has been promised to the chosen ones who remain faithful until death. If an anointed Christian becomes unfaithful, he cannot receive that crown.—1 Peter 5:4; Revelation 2:10.
A GLORIOUS ENTRANCE INTO THE KINGDOM
7. What wonderful hope did Jude mention in his letter?
7 About the year 65, Jesus’ half brother Jude wrote a letter to anointed Christians. He said that they were “the called ones.” (Jude 1; compare Hebrews 3:1.) At first, he wanted to write them about the hope of salvation that all anointed Christians have. (Jude 3) Instead, he had to write about other urgent matters. But he still ended his short letter by mentioning the wonderful hope of anointed Christians. He wrote: “Now to the one who is able to guard you from stumbling and to set you unblemished in the sight of his glory with great joy, to the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, might and authority for all past eternity and now and into all eternity.”—Jude 24, 25.
8. Why do we know that there is joy in heaven when one of the anointed keeps his integrity until death?
8 Certainly, each faithful anointed Christian wants God to protect him from “stumbling,” or from anything that may cause him to become unfaithful and result in his destruction. The hope of the anointed is that Jesus Christ will resurrect them from the dead as perfect spirit creatures. This will allow them to come into God’s presence. When one of the anointed dies faithful, there is no doubt that he will be “raised up a spiritual body” and resurrected “in incorruption” and “in glory.” (1 Corinthians 15:42-44) If there is much “joy in heaven over one sinner that repents,” imagine the joy in heaven when one of Christ’s brothers keeps his integrity until death. (Luke 15:7) Each anointed one receives his reward “with great joy,” and Jehovah and the faithful spirit creatures rejoice with him.—Read 1 John 3:2.
9. How is entrance into the Kingdom “richly supplied” to faithful anointed ones? How does this hope affect the anointed who are still on earth?
9 Like Jude, Peter wrote to anointed Christians about the reward they would receive if they remained faithful. He told them: “There will be richly supplied to you the entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:10, 11) When Peter said that entrance into the Kingdom would be “richly supplied” to them, he could have been referring to the fact that they would enter heaven in great glory. He may also have been referring to the many blessings that they will receive in heaven. The anointed will feel great joy and gratitude when they think of the faithfulness that they showed. This hope strengthens anointed Christians to remain faithful while they are still on earth.—1 Peter 1:13.
“THE BASIS OF HOPE” FOR THE OTHER SHEEP
10, 11. (a) What hope do the other sheep have? (b) How is the earthly hope connected to Christ and to “the revealing of the sons of God”?
10 The apostle Paul wrote to anointed “sons of God” about their glorious hope to be “joint heirs” with Christ. Then he mentioned the wonderful hope that Jehovah gives to the unlimited number of other sheep: “The eager expectation of the creation is waiting for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will but through him that subjected it, on the basis of hope that the creation itself also will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.”—Romans 8:14-21.
11 Jehovah gave humans “the basis of hope” when he promised to free them from Satan the Devil by means of the promised “seed.” (Genesis 3:15; Revelation 12:9) The main part of that seed was Jesus Christ. (Galatians 3:16) Jesus’ death and resurrection made it possible for humans to have the hope of being free from sin and death. This hope is connected to “the revealing of the sons of God,” the anointed in heaven. They are the other part of the seed. They will be revealed, or made known as kings with Christ, when they help Christ to destroy Satan’s wicked system. (Revelation 2:26, 27) This will result in salvation for those of the other sheep who come out of the great tribulation.—Revelation 7:9, 10, 14.
12. What wonderful benefits will the revealing of the anointed have for humans?
12 The thousand years of Christ’s reign will result in great relief for humans! During that time, “the sons of God” will be revealed in another way. They will act as priests with Christ and help mankind to receive the benefits of his sacrifice. When God’s Kingdom rules over the earth, obedient humans will gradually “be set free from enslavement to corruption.” They will be set free from the results of sin and death. If they remain faithful to Jehovah both during the thousand years and during the final test that comes at the end, their names will be written in “the scroll of life” forever. They will have “the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Revelation 20:7, 8, 11, 12) This is truly a wonderful hope!
HAVE YOUR HOPE CLEAR IN MIND
13. What makes our hope possible? When will the revelation of Christ happen?
13 What Peter wrote in his two letters helps both the anointed and the other sheep to keep their hope clear in mind. He explained that their hope is possible because of Jehovah’s abundant kindness, not because of their works. He wrote: “Keep balanced and set your hope completely upon the undeserved kindness that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:13; footnote) “The revelation of Jesus Christ” will happen when he comes to reward his faithful followers and to destroy the wicked.—Read 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10.
14, 15. (a) What must we do to keep our hope clear in mind? (b) What did Peter say we should do?
14 To keep our hope clear in mind, we must constantly remember that “the day of Jehovah” is coming soon. This attitude should affect our entire life. Jehovah will destroy today’s human governments, “the heavens,” and wicked people, “the earth” and its “elements.” Peter wrote: “What sort of persons ought you to be in holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion, awaiting and keeping close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah, through which the heavens being on fire will be dissolved and the elements being intensely hot will melt!” —2 Peter 3:10-12.
15 Then there will be “new heavens and a new earth.” Christ’s government and its righteous citizens will replace human governments and all wicked people. (2 Peter 3:13) Peter told us clearly what to do to keep “awaiting,” or to keep clear in mind, our hope of the promised new heavens and new earth. He said: “Hence, beloved ones, since you are awaiting these things, do your utmost to be found finally by him spotless and unblemished and in peace.”—2 Peter 3:14.
SHOW THAT YOU HAVE YOUR HOPE CLEAR IN MIND
16, 17. (a) What “holy acts of conduct” and “deeds of godly devotion” should we show? (b) How will our hope come true?
16 We show that we have our hope clear in mind by the way we live. As Peter reminds us, we should make sure that we are the kind of person Jehovah approves. “Holy acts of conduct” include keeping our conduct “fine among the nations” by doing what God says is right. (2 Peter 3:11; 1 Peter 2:12) We must love our worldwide brotherhood. That includes doing all we can to keep the unity in our congregation. (John 13:35) Peter also mentioned “deeds of godly devotion,” which are things we do to keep our relationship with Jehovah strong. They include meaningful prayers, daily Bible reading, deep personal study, family worship, and regular participation in the preaching of the “good news of the kingdom.”—Matthew 24:14.
17 Each of us wants to be the sort of person Jehovah approves and will save when he destroys this wicked system. If we are that sort of person, our hope, the “hope of the everlasting life which God, who cannot lie, promised before times long lasting,” will come true.—Titus 1:2.
SOME EXPRESSIONS EXPLAINED
Our hope: The promise we believe of living forever either in heaven or on earth, which is certain to come true
Messianic Kingdom: God’s government ruled by Christ
The revealing of the sons of God: The time when it will be made clear to all that the anointed have been resurrected to heavenly life and are ruling with Christ
The revelation of Jesus Christ: The time when it will be made clear to all that Christ is a powerful King who rewards the faithful and punishes the wicked
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Our hope is possible because of Jehovah’s abundant kindness, not because of our works
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We keep our hope clear in mind by remembering that “the day of Jehovah” is near
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We show that we have our hope clear in mind by the way we live
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Anointed Christians have “a new birth to a living hope”
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Have your hope clear in mind as a family