Christmas in real life is hard. Hope can be harder. This Sunday we begin our march to the manger with our Christmas series, Christmas in Real Life. Where are you finding hope this Christmas? Lower COVID numbers? The economy? Some Christmas special? Real hope is found only in Jesus. Let’s work through a few of the verses of our Romans 8 text.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
Can you hear the groaning in British Columbia? Or how about this guy, 61-yr old Michael Goetze, who lost his ring when his home burned down in California? Those fires happen every year out west. These groanings as terrible as they are, are not the end. They are the groaning of childbirth. Something new and better is about to be born! When you see these things happening – they are temporary, God will end this veil of tears, and hope – God has something better. Childbirth normally ends with the cry of a new life, and tears of joy.
23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
First fruit of the Spirit doesn’t mean that we get part of the Spirit now and part of it later – we receive the Spirit in full when we come to faith. No one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. The firstfruit of the Spirit is the deposit, the guarantee that we are redeemed and the reality will follow.
2 Corinthians 5:5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
24 For in this hope we were saved. Now you see hope in action. How can hope save us? How can a positive wish do any good? In verse 23 you just heard Paul talk about guaranteed results. You are going to heaven, the Spirit is proof. He even says you were saved in this hope. How exactly?
The problem here is sin. It might look like natural disasters and pandemics. But the biggest problem you have is your guilt. There is no vaccine that can inoculate you from future wrongs that you will commit. Those fester on your soul. Carolina has had it’s fair share of floods in recent memory, but there is nothing as disgusting as the guilt that leaves you… dirty.
This is where Jesus steps in. He came to bring hope – real hope. The problem isn’t natural disasters or even disease, those are symptoms. He paid for your sin when he died on the cross. That guilt was lifted off your soul and placed on his shoulders. He was forsaken by God that you might be called his child. Your salvation is done. As your God uses the word hope in the Bible he means an action completed, but you don’t get to enjoy it just yet. That’s real hope.
Want to hear more? Watch this Sunday’s message taken from Romans 8 – Christmas in Real Life – Hope.
To learn more about this Advent sermon series you can find the event page HERE.
Series: Christmas in Real Life
Speaker(s): Fred Guldberg