The relationship of hope and faith

People who know me or at least those who take the time to read my musings on theology and the life of Christians and the Church are probably familiar with my interest in relating exploring the social dimension of a believer’s faith in Christ.

Primarily because I am a staunch believer that though faith in Christ as Lord and Saviour are personal affairs – it does not mean though that it should be a private affair wherein a believer must be contented in living a Christian life of ‘working our their relationship with God’ through misguided exercise of personal piety and overemphasis on devotional Bible-reading and prayer, however good and important those things may be for each individual Christians.

Hate me as much as you want to but I believe that Christianity is not just about us and Jesus. Because the relationship that we have with God through Jesus Christ brings us into communion with millions of others. Otherwise there won’t be a need for the Church, which exists within the world to be a visible revelation of God calling upon mankind to become subject of His present and future Kingdom.

Looking at Christianity from the perspective of individualism hurts the body of Christ and its witness as it makes it seem that this present world doesn’t matter and that our relationships with one another (however imperfect they are), are not at all important because we have a personal relationship with Jesus.

It is in line with that thought that I have resolved to talk about this social dimension of the Christian life in previous and present post as well as in the coming days as I will try to share with you my personal readings on faith as articulated from the theological reflections of fellow believers who like myself are wrestling with Scriptures in defining a faith that is not ‘dead’ but rather a faith that is transformative not only in the aspect of the individual’s sanctification but also in the life and witness of the Church at large to the world that groans for its liberation when Christ returns in glory.

So it is here that I would like to share about James W. Douglas’ insight on faith’s relationship with hope as he has written in his book Lighting East to West:

“The Christian experience of faith is in a God of hope to humanity, a loving God who will finally bring justice and peace to the world. The Christian prays, “Thy kingdom come,” knowing that when the kingdom does come, swords will be beaten into ploughshares – or more difficult to believe today that nuclear weapons will be abolished and the world’s masses freed from hunger and oppression. The Christian experience of faith is in a God who will finally transform the world as we know it, filled with violence and suffering, into a new heaven and new earth where love and truth will reign in people’s hearts and be embodied in a global community. Thus faith in God means hope for the earth, a hope for all humanity.”1

[1] Douglas, James W. Jesus, Gandhi and the Nuclear Age: Lighting East to West p.92

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