“And Have Hope Toward God…”
When confronted by reprobate religious men, the apostle Paul did not back up an inch. He knew nothing of cowardice or compromise. Being concerned more for the souls of men, the glory of God, and the gospel of his grace than for his own well being, this faithful servant of God stood firm. Pointing to his accusers, knowing that it might cost him his very life, he said…
“This I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.”
If you and I would have hope toward God, we must worship the one true and living God, whom Paul worshipped, and we must worship him as Paul worshipped him.
We must worship the God of our fathers, “believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets.” I bow to the Word of God. There are many good creeds, confessions, and catechisms written by men, clearly setting forth the gospel of the grace of God; but I do not pen my faith to the writings of any man, or any group of men, no matter how much I may admire them. The Word of God alone is my rule of faith and practice. I bow my will and my reason, my experience and my feelings, to the Word of God. I do not understand all that is written in the Scriptures; but I believe it all. I bow to the authority of Holy Scripture. I do so unreservedly. Let men call it bigotry, ignorance, or whatever they may, I am not even open to the consideration of any thought, idea, or evidence which contradicts the Book of God.
Believing all things written in the Word of God, I “have hope toward God.” Living in the prospect of eternity, in the face of eternity, the resurrection of the dead, and the great white throne judgment, I have hope toward God because, “after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers…”
1. As A Sinner. I am convinced of my sin. I am a sinner by birth, by nature, by choice, and by practice (John 16:8-11; Ps. 51:5; 58:3; Rom. 3:9-19; 5:12).
2. As A Sinner Chosen Of God (Eph. 1:3-6; Gal. 1:15-16; 2 Thess. 2:13-14).
3. As A Sinner Redeemed By The Precious Blood Of Christ (Gal. 2:20-21). The Son of God purchased me, atoned for all my sins, and made me righteous by his obedience to God as my Representative and Substitute, obedience even unto death!
4. As A Sinner Saved By God’s Irresistible Grace (Ps. 65:4; Eph. 2:1-10). I am saved by the grace of God alone. “By the grace of God I am what I am.” It was God the Holy Spirit who sought me out when I would not seek him, came to where I was when I could not come to him, called me by almighty grace when I refused to call to him, raised me from the dead when I had no desire to be raised from the dead, and loosed me when I loved my bondage.
5. As A Sinner Sealed And Preserved By His Grace (John 10:27-30; Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30; 1 Pet. 1:5). Grace put me in the way. Grace leads me in the way. And grace keeps me in the way. I am kept in the hands of Christ my covenant Surety and good Shepherd., kept by the seal of God the Holy Spirit, and kept in the hands of God my Father, kept in the omnipotent hands of the triune God, and none can pluck me from those hands!
6. As A Sinner Living In Hope Of The Resurrection (1 Thess. 4:13-18). I do not know when Christ shall appear; but I do know that soon my Lord Jesus will come in power and great glory. When he does, he will raise me up, transform me into his glory, and bring me into his glorious kingdom in the perfection of beauty which he has put upon me, by which I am worthy to take possession of the inheritance of the sons of God!
7. As A Sinner Exercising Myself To Have A Good Conscience (Acts 24:16). Walking before God, trusting Christ alone as my Savior, I strive always to have a good conscience before God (Col. 2:6), seeking his will, endeavoring to honor him, serving his people. I also strive to have a conscience void of offence toward men, living honestly and showing mercy. Grace makes men both honest and gracious.
I put before you the same ultimatum that God’s servant Elijah put before Israel on Mt. Carmel. The issues are exactly the same. “How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal (the god of your own making), then follow him.” Regardless of what you do, I avow with Joshua, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”