Love for Others and Hope for the Future

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.

–1 John 4:20

What does the gospel do in our lives? First, as we saw yesterday, the power of the gospel gives us faith in Christ and Christ alone. Second, the gospel produces a love for all other Christians. Paul wrote in Colossians 1:4, “We heard of . . . the love which you have for all the saints.”

Legitimate faith produces genuine love for others. You may say you love God, but if there are people you hate, then that is evidence of a dead faith. John said it this way: “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20). In the Colossian church, Paul sensed not just a superficial emotion toward one another but a deep commitment to one another.

Finally, the gospel provides hope for the future. Paul pointed out “the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel” (Colossians 1:5).

Imagine that your father was worth a hundred million dollars, and he left everything to you. The only stipulation is that you can’t touch most of it until you’re sixty years old. You can withdraw a little of his fortune here and there when you need to, but most of it is locked up in a trust fund until your sixtieth birthday. How would the knowledge of that future inheritance affect your everyday life? Would it keep you from hard times? No, but it might change your perspective about those difficult times. No matter how tough things get, you know one day the big payoff is coming. That future hope would give you encouragement in your present-day distress.

In the same way, Paul said we have a “hope laid up for [us] in heaven.” The phrase “laid up” is a financial term that refers to laying up money for the future. Paul was saying you and I have an inheritance in heaven. It’s not a trust fund or any other perishable thing; it is the riches of Jesus Christ that will be ours forever and ever. Yes, there are also benefits to being a Christian in this life. But the big payoff is yet to come.

Does that mean we have no difficulties today? Of course not. Jesus said in this life, we will face tribulation (John 16:33). But the knowledge that an inheritance is coming gives us a fresh perspective on the difficulties we deal with right now. The gospel produces hope for the future.

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Today’s devotion is adapted from “The Evidence of Genuine Faith” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.

 

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