Hope Through Jesus Christ
Without Jesus Christ, hope would be nearly to find in many of life’s trials. The challenges we face would be meaningless and the suffering of so many would seem pointless if this life was all there was.
The Mormons (a nickname for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) offer the following definition of hope in their Bible Dictionary:
“The confident expectation of and longing for the promised blessings of righteousness. The scriptures often speak of hope as anticipation of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.”
When God sent us to Earth, He sent us under a law that required absolute justice involving perfect obedience to the law. However, He understood that was an impossible standard for mortals to obtain. We would all sin and fall short of God’s commandments. Because God loves us, He chose to temper this law with mercy. The law allows for another person, completely perfect, to vicariously suffer for our sins on our behalf. Since no fully mortal person can be perfect, this atonement must come from one who has divinity during mortality and who performs the sacrifice entirely voluntarily.
Jesus Christ was the only being who could take on this responsibility and He accepted it gladly, wanting nothing in return for His gift. It was a gift of pure love for God and for each of us individuallly. He would come to earth with a mortal mother, in order to allow Him to experience mortal suffering and to have mortal experiences and to die. However, God would be His Father, and so He would also have the divinity that would make it possible for Him to choose to be perfect. He could prevent death for this reason, but would choose to allow it in order to give us the gift of eternal life.
If Jesus Christ had refused this opportunity there would have been no real purpose in coming to Earth. We would have left God’s presence knowing we could never return home. A single sin would have stopped us from receiving eternal life. We could not be resurrected from death and this life would be the end of our existence.
Because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, we have hope. We know we can be forgiven for our sins and move forward in our progression toward eternity. While we cannot achieve perfection in this life, we are consistently working towards it, knowing that each setback can be repented of and then we can move on. God will forgive and forget sins that are sincerely repented of.
Without the atonement, it would be hard to understand how God could allow the suffering of a young child or the evils of the world to go on. With it, we understand the eternal impact of life. We know we have agency—the right to choose for ourselves. God cannot intercept that agency, and that means that everyone can choose good or evil, and those choices will impact others. Is God absent when innocent people suffer? No, He is there providing comfort to those who accept it and making certain His eternal plan for that person is not prevented. Whatever is essential for the person’s eternal life will happen. God takes babies and small children directly into His kingdom when they die and He offers those who are older the promise of an eternal life with Him if they accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and live in a way that demonstrates they love the Lord.
Having a hope of eternity improves our accountability. We know there will be a day when we stand before God and answer for how we lived our lives and how we treated others. This motivates us to make wise choices and to sacrifice worldly pleasures for eternal joy.
With Christ, we have a perfect hope of eternity that could not come to us any other way. We know that no matter what happens in our lives, we have a Father in Heaven who loves us and we have the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who opened the doors of eternity for us.