Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 1:3 described the Christian hope as “a living hope.” What does that mean? The opposite of a “living hope” would be a “dead hope.” Piper writes, “Living hope is hope that has power and produces changes in life…So, Christian hope is a strong confidence in God which has the power to produce changes in how we live.”
Paul in Romans 15:4 states that the Old Testament is a precursor to our present hope. In this passage, he reminds us of the importance of the Old Testament writings and how it lends credence to our present hope. “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4 NKJV). The question is, what were the things written before for our learning which Paul refers to? And how does the comfort of the Scriptures give us hope?”
There are many things written in the Old Testament that serve for our learning and which inspire us to have hope. Paul refers to the entire divinely written Scriptures of the Old Testament. He says the Old Testament was written for our learning, so “that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”
Before we look into the things written in the Old Testament that serve to educate us, it is important to sound this caveat. There are many things in the Old Testament that do not apply to us in the New Testament. We can only draw lessons from them. It is important we remember that Jesus Christ has come, we, therefore, cannot appropriate the Old Testament laws for our lives; that would negate Christ’s death and resurrection.
We shall in a three-part series examine twenty-five lessons we draw from the Old Testament that makes our hope a “living hope” or a “better hope.”
Let us start with the story of the Creation. The Creation reveals God’s wisdom, plans, supernatural abilities and his sovereign authority to speak situations into existence. God’s power to bring creation into existence out of the chaotic order of the past inspires faith and hope in us today of God’s omnipotence and sovereignty.
Two, the entire Old Testament points to the coming of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament is a treasure trove of prophecies, promises of God’s plans for humanity some of which have been fulfilled. The thought of this fact gives the believer hope to look to the future. The New Testament is built on the foundation of the Old. Together they form one complete story—the story of God’s deep love for mankind and his plan for humanity. The realization that God has an eternal plan for man is a hope builder. Besides, the Old Testament teaches us countless lessons. By observing the lives of the characters of the Old Testament, we find guidance for our own lives and we know how to live our lives now.
Three, Jesus is the fulfillment of the law. All the commandments, rules regarding animal sacrifices and priestly activity are brought to an end; they are fulfilled in Jesus. By Jesus’s life and death — as our final sacrifice and our final high priest — all of it has passed away. This is why the book of Hebrews describes our hope as a better hope. “For the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” (Hebrews 7:19 NKJV).
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