Your Christian Hope: An Eternal Perspective
By Dr. David R. Reagan
Why is it important to have an eternal perspective?
What I have outlined in the previous parts are a series of glorious promises that are designed to give God’s people a strong sense of hope as they live as strangers and pilgrims in the midst of an evil, God-rejecting world (Hebrews 11:13-16).
When you read these incredible promises, you can understand why Paul wrote these words in 1 Corinthians 2:9 — “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, nor has the mind of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him.”
As this verse says, we cannot even begin to imagine the wonderful blessings God has in store for the Redeemed, but the very next verse says that the Holy Spirit has revealed those promises in God’s Word.
The sad thing is that most Christians are ignorant of those promises and therefore have no idea what Paul meant when he wrote: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).
If You know Jesus as your Savior, you are an heir to some incredible promises, and if you know those promises and believe in them, you can live in the midst of this evil world with hope, joy, and great expectations.
C. S. Lewis on Hope
Hope is one of the theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do.
It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the slave trade all left their mark on earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven.
The Importance of an Eternal Perspective
It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this one. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you will get neither.
It seems a strange rule, but something like it can be seen at work in other matters. Health is a great blessing, but the moment you make health one of you main, direct objects, you start becoming a crank and imagining there is something wrong with you. You are only likely to get health provided you want other things more food, games, work, fun, open air.
The Longing for Heaven
Most of us find it very difficult to want Heaven at all except insofar as Heaven means meeting again our friends who have died. One reason for this difficulty is that we have not been trained. Our whole education tends to fix our minds on this world.
Another reason is that when the real want for Heaven is present in us, we do not recognize it. Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise.
The longings which arise in us when we first fall in love, or first think of some foreign country, or first take up some subject that excites us, are longings which no marriage, no travel, no learning, can really satisfy. I am not speaking of what would ordinarily be called unsuccessful marriages, or holidays, or careers. I am speaking of the best possible ones.
There was something we grasped at, in that first moment of longing, which just fades away in reality. I think everyone knows what I mean. The wife may be a good wife, and the hotels and scenery may have been excellent, and chemistry may be a very interesting job but something has evaded us.