Posted by danong2013

Dearly beloved,

Someone once made this startling observation: It has been said that man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, and about eight minutes without air—but only one second without HOPE.

There are others, however, who have been so disillusioned with hope. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who pro-pounded the idea of “death of God,” said, “Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man.” Another person who didn’t have much hope about hope was T. S. Eliot, a British poet and playwright. He said, “I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing.”

While I can’t see eye to eye with their perspectives, I can un-derstand their scepticism. When you flip the pages of the daily newspaper, turn on the television for news hour, or browse the internet for latest news, bad news from politics, economics and social scenes predominate. Hence, putting hope on these would be like a “hope for the wrong thing.”

The Bible stresses on the subject of hope. But it’s different! While “hope” in our modern usage has the idea of “unsure optimism,” it was “strong and confident expectation” in the classical and New Testament Greek usage. Hope, in the bi-blical usage, is a confident expectation of events in the future. The biblical hope has its foundation in the Almighty God. “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was gi-ven to us” (Rom. 5:5).

It was with this consistent understanding of the biblical teach-ing of hope that the apostle Peter wrote to the believers who were dispersed in Asia Minor probably as a result of persecu-tions (1 Pet. 1:1). Before instructing them how they should live under such adverse circumstances, Peter directed the at-tention to their standing in God’s plan. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled…reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (vv.3-5). Al-most within one breath, Peter excitedly revealed the secret!

Dearly beloved, bear in mind that our hope isn’t “unsure opti-mism;” it is a “strong and confident expectation” because it is founded on the abundant mercy of the Almighty God.

Living in hope,

Pastor Peter

Unsure optimism prolongs the torments of man;

hope founded on God brings salvation to mankind.

亲爱的弟兄姐妹:

有人曾经发表过这样一个惊人的观察所得:人能够在没有食物下生存四十天,没有水的情况下能活三天,没有空气下生存大概八分钟,但没有希望的话不能活过一秒。

可是有些人的确对希望的信心破灭。德国的哲学家弗里德里希尼采提出“上帝已死”的观点,说:“希望在实际上是最邪恶的,因为它把人的痛苦延长了。”另外一个人对希望没有抱太大期望的是英国诗人和剧作家艾略特。他说:“我跟我自己的灵魂说,安静自己,等待却不要抱希望,因为有可能会把希望放在不对的事上。”

虽然我不能以他们的观点看事情,但我却能明白到他们的怀疑论。当你翻开每日的报章,扭开电视看新闻报道,或是上网看最新的新闻,都充斥着政治,经济,社会上的坏消息。所以,如果把希望放在这些上就是“把希望放在不对的事上”。

圣经强调希望的课题。但这却是跟之前所讲的不同!“希望”在现代用法上代表“在不肯定中的乐观”,但在古时和新约希腊文就代表“坚定和有信心的期望”。在圣经里,希望是对将来要发生的事抱着一种信心的期望。圣经里的希望是源于那全能的神。“盼望不至于羞耻,因为所赐给我们的圣灵将上帝的爱浇灌在我们心里。”(罗马书 5:5)

彼得以一贯圣经在希望上的教导写信给很可能因逼迫分散在小亚细亚的信徒。在指引他们如何在这逆境下生存之前,彼得就先把他们的注意带到他们在主计划的份上。“愿颂赞归于我们主耶稣基督的父神!他曾照自己的大怜悯,藉耶稣基督从死里复活,重生了我们,叫我们有活泼的盼望……为你们存留在天上的基业。你们这因信蒙神能力保守的人,必能得着所预备、到末世要显现的救恩。”(彼前1:3-5)彼得几乎是一口气,就兴奋地把这秘密展示出来!

亲爱的弟兄姐妹,请记住我们的希望不是“在不肯定中的乐观”,而是“坚定和有信心的期望”,因为那是建基于那全能神的丰厚恩典上。

活在盼望中

庄彼得牧师

不肯定中的乐观把人的痛苦延长,

但建基于神的希望把救恩带给世人。