“Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, but at the proper time manifested, even His word…”
Do you have hope as a pastor? What is your hope?
The Apostle Paul’s ministry was fueled by hope. He served well as “a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ…in the hope of eternal life.” And his hope was well-founded, resting on the truthfulness of the God “who cannot lie.”
The Apostle is not far from his Master. Our Lord Jesus was also fueled by hope. He endured the cross for the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). He knew the nations were His, but only after He had suffered (Psalm 2:8).
What was the object of Paul’s hope? God’s ancient promise of eternal life revealed in His word.
In hope we are saved (Romans 8:24). It’s an anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19). It purifies us (1 John 3:3). It’s our helmet, protecting us in battle (1 Thessalonians 5:8). Without it, we perish (Colossians 1:23).
And this hope gave power to Paul’s preaching. “Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech” (2 Corinthians 3:12).
Do you use great boldness in your speech? If not, your hope is weak.
Without the confidence that God’s word is true, you will not speak as you ought. You will waffle and weasel. You will apologize for God’s word. You will not proclaim it boldly. How could you? You are not anchored by the sure and steadfast hope that God is true, though every man be found a liar.
And you must hope it is true—not just theoretically—but for your soul. Do you believe it? Do you rest in God’s promise for your own salvation? In earlier times, those who wrote books for pastors never assumed their readers were true Christians. Their first exhortation to pastors was be sure you have eternal life. So, do you? Is your fear a fruit of your faithlessness? Did you enter seminary or the ministry for any other reason than your hope of eternal life? If so, your ministry will be useless.
Pastor, what is your hope? Peace in your time? No conflict in your church? In your family? To grow old and retire in peace?
You know better. Those hopes weaken you. The only hope that will strengthen your spine is the solid hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago. It’s the hope that you hold in your hand, even His word.