We need the help of the church. We need one another. We need the singing and the praying and the preaching and the encouragement. We need help to look back and remember, and to look forward and anticipate. That’s where the strength comes from that empowers us to endure.
To the degree that we think our salvation had something to do with us—the card I signed, the aisle I walked, the prayer I prayed, the faith I mustered, the decision I made—we will lose sight of the majesty of the mercy of God. And when we lose sight of his mercy, worship is suppressed and killed, and so is our strength to stand when grieved by various trials. What we believe on this point is no small thing. This has massive implications for how we live out the Christian life. We cannot live a life pleasing to God—a life of profound joy in him; a life of worship—without giving him full credit for our salvation. He has caused us to be born again. That is one gloriously bright facet of God’s great mercy.
Biblical hope is assured trust, it’s a confident expectation. Biblical hope is the confident expectation that our merciful God is going to do good to us and fulfill every promise he’s made. That’s biblical hope. And it’s a living hope. It grows and increases in strength and stability as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our merciful God.
Faith is what keeps us in God. It’s what keeps us looking back to what God has done in Christ. And it keeps us looking forward and hoping in our certain future. It’s what keeps us on the path to our inheritance. And God’s power keeps us in faith. God nourishes and strengthens and sustains and upholds our faith.