The Gospel generates hope for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting, of new beginnings and new purpose.
Sir Winston Churchill, Britain's Prime Minister, while visiting with the robust young evangelist Billy Graham in 1954, inquired, "I see no hope for the world. Do you have any real hope?" His question has a lingering relevance for many concerned citizens today as the challenges and tensions of the new century confront them: terrorism, war, pollution, poverty, oppression, persecution, drugs, crime, corruption.
Billy Graham knew this same question was lurking in the hearts of the massive crowds who packed the dingy Harringay Arena. He declared "I am going to preach a Gospel not of despair but of hope - hope for the individual, for society, and for the world." And he did, with phenomenal results.
The Gospel generates hope for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting, of new beginnings and new purpose. It offers deliverance from hopelessness and despair. Ask Chuck Colson or, for that matter, anyone who has been born again.
As hearts are changed, lives are changed and eventually communities and cultures change, too. Think of the generous outpouring of compassion and charity triggered by Christian faith. Consider the love of freedom and the value of human rights in Western civilization as a result of Christian influence. The concern for truth and honesty; a high value on goodness and morality could be mentioned too. Christianity has brought renewal and hope to both individuals and nations through the transforming presence of God's grace.
Admittedly, at given points in history the shadows lengthen and darkness appears ready to engulf everything. The forces of evil threaten and intimidate. When that happens, discouragement strikes. Circumstances can prove so overwhelmingly bad that all hope disintegrates.
But we must remember that the One who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world (1 John 4:4)and that with God, nothing is impossible (Matt. 19:26). His grace really is sufficient for all our needs (II Cor. 12:9). If He is for us then we don't have to be concerned about who or what is against us (Rom. 8:31ff)..
When I rely only on myself or my circumstances, I am easily cowed. But I must remember that God is sovereign. Calmed and assured by His presence and promises, I must apply myself to matters at hand, trusting God to do more than I can begin to imagine.
RTS was founded by people of faith and hope who trusted in "the God for whom nothing is impossible." Circumstances have often been difficult, but His grace has been more than sufficient so we are enboldened to continue to work and pray for a new Reformation. We go forward into the future with great hope because God is with us.
- Dr. Luder G. Whitlock, Jr.
Reformed Quarterly, Volume 19, Number 4