Our world is experiencing the death throes of mass-shootings, sexual depravity, gender dysphoria, pandemic panic, racial strife, climate dystopia, substance abuse, economic crisis, and increasing suicide.
In the midst of these troubles, Christians should not share in the same despair as those who are “without God and without hope” in this world.
Instead of hiding behind the walls of the church, we Christians have the sacred duty to reach out with a message of hope to a perishing world. Christians have been called to be witnesses to the world concerning the truths we hold in Christ Jesus (Revelation 11).
One of the injunctions given to believers is that they ought to be able to make a compelling case for the Christian faith to the outside world. The apostle Peter instructs the church in 1 Peter 3:15, “always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”
Jesus exhorted his followers to not be ashamed of him and his words before “this adulterous and sinful generation” (Mark 8:38). We have no need to hide our Christian faith.
Without condemnation or apology, I put forward this compelling apologetic for our hope in Christ Jesus. To a world without hope, this is our hope. This is why we are not in despair.
Divine Love. The most precious reward of faith is the real experience of God’s love in one’s soul. Every soul that comes into this world is separated from God and is subconsciously yearning to be reconciled with him. The emptiness, dread, and loneliness that people feel in life stems from this need to know God’s love.
The most glorious attribute of God is his love, thus it becomes the most exhilarating experience when the human soul feels it within them. This is not some mystical thing reserved for a few ultra-spiritual people but the common reality of every true Christian who places faith in Christ Jesus.
When a person turns to Christ “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us” (Rom. 5:5). It is this love that grants us an indescribable peace and an unassailable hope through the darkest days of this life. God’s love becomes the “root and foundation” of our souls (Eph. 3:17) and is our inseparable bond to Christ Jesus forever.
The psalmist cried out that the “steadfast love of the Lord is better than life” (Ps. 63:3). Like a hidden treasure in a field, when a soul finds God’s love there is no greater joy.
Solid Truth. In a world characterised by changing winds, shifting sands, and groping in the dark, Christianity provides the clarity of truth the mind craves. Much of this world echoes the words of Pontius Pilate who cynically asked Jesus, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). Yet people need truth, and God gives us his reliable Word, both in the inspired Scriptures and in his Son.
Jesus claimed that he was “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) and that his words were like the solid foundations of a house (Matt. 7:24). When a person comes to Christ they feel like a blind man who is granted sight for the first time. They see everything clearly and wonder how they existed in such blindness.
As they study God’s word they come to understand afresh truths about God, themselves, and the world. The Bible is timeless, crosses cultures, and becomes alive as it penetrates our hearts. The Greek philosopher and mathematician Archimedes said, “Give me a lever and a place to stand, and I shall move the world.” The Word of God can become that solid place for you to stand to move your world.
True Self. Our generation has lost a sense of personhood more than any previous generation. People yearn to find their “authentic self” or “the best version of themselves,” all with the hope of finding true happiness. Unfortunately, the quest to answer the question, “Who am I?” usually ends in misery.
Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me, For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt. 16:24-25).
Only when a person finds Christ do they find themselves. Christ reveals the truth that the human soul apart from Christ is lost, but when a person comes to Christ they find a new self. For the rest of one’s life, the Christian is constantly denying his “old self” and “putting on” their new identity in Christ (Col. 3:9).
This “Christ-like” self is the person you were created to be, and like a tailor-made jacket fits just right. In an age where people are subjectively choosing their own identity, Christ has crafted your true self in the likeness of himself, the God-Man who is the glorious radiance and exact image of God. Find Christ and you will find yourself.
Right Morality. The question of what is right or wrong has plagued humanity ever since Eve ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. People will never escape the whole notion of morality because our consciences convict us every time we transgress our moral code.
People may aspire to be a “good person” but everyone falls short. In the frustration and confusion of the world’s moral anarchy, the Scriptures and the person of Jesus Christ provide the right moral compass and answer for people.
The deep joy that believers feel within their soul comes from their experience of having their sins forgiven and receiving a new godly nature derived from Christ. The world thinks that Christians are plagued by moral guilt, but in fact, true believers actually live life in freedom without a sense of condemnation.
They face the future with the expectation of victory over the power of sin and temptation. With a new nature and clear directives on right and wrong through the Scriptures, the Christian is able to walk the straight and narrow path of true righteousness.
Meaningful Life. Discovering the meaning of life is thought to be some kind of fanciful pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Thus many people have given up hope of finding meaning in life. This existential despair may be the cause of the increasing incidence of drug addiction and suicide in our age. Only from the Christian perspective can life be truly meaningful. If I were to give a definition of the meaning of life it would be this:
A person’s life is meaningful
as they experience good from the hand of God,
fulfil a purpose according to the plan of God,
and are transformed into the image of God.
The Christian trusts that God will bless them with good things in this life, (spouses and children, fulfilling work, food and material provisions, etc…) and that their life can have a purpose as they follow God’s path for their life. When God is removed from the equation, everything falls apart.
All human attempts at achieving lasting significance usually end up in the despairing cry of “Vanity, Vanity! All things are vanity!” (Eccl. 1:2). With Jesus Christ, not yourself, at the centre, your life can have the purpose and value you crave.
Sovereign Help. The Western post-Christian world holds a rationalistic outlook that if God exists he does not get involved in the affairs of men. Only a fool would actually look to a deity for practical assistance in life. Yet this modern rationalism is a novel idea and not shared by previous generations in human history and the other major religions of the world.
The religions of humankind have always assumed that the deity was active in the world. Christians simply proclaim that they serve and trust in the one and only true living God who made and rules the world. Thus we do not believe that the earth is doomed.
Christians believe that the God who made the world will also sustain it until he returns from on high. The Christian has sought refuge and blessings in this good and mighty Lord who has pledged to help them throughout their life. If they are correct in this faith, then it is entirely rational and wise to seek protection in the God who controls all things in life.
Is trying to survive a hostile world solely depending on your own wits and strength a more assuring perspective to life? No wonder so many people are overwhelmed and give in to depression. Being alone and without help is no way to live. How much better it is to be able to confess, “I lift my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)
Sure Eternity. There is no getting around the fact that everyone is going to die someday. Most people live for this life and ignore this horrible fate. The dread people have over death is their intuitive understanding that after death they may be judged adversely for their wrongdoings in this life. Their fears are well-founded.
Yet, the Christian has no fear of death for two reasons. The first is that even though they deserve hell (and yes, there is such a place) their sins have been forgiven through Jesus Christ’s atoning work on the cross. Their confidence in their forgiveness in Christ (justification before God) removes any fear of eternal condemnation.
Secondly, they understand that the life to come after death is far superior to existence in this corrupt world. They are particularly looking forward to the time when the Son of Man (Christ) returns to remake the world and eradicate all evil. Having an assurance about eternity eases some of the pain in the present.
Without the Christian hope of eternity, a person will merely live for this world and put off concern about the afterlife. This works only for a season until the death of someone dear brings this grim reality back to the forefront. How much more comforting it is to know that your Savour holds you through life and death (Heidelberg Catechism #1).
These diverse hopes undergird the faith of Christians. They provide the strength to live in this fallen world. These are answers to ultimate issues, and any worldview that does not provide superior answers is not worth holding.
There is no other religion or belief structure that can grant God’s love, be a foundation for truth, restore your true identity, guide you in ethics, give meaning to your life, secure divine aid, and give comfort for eternity.
These “reasons for your hope” are a treasure trove of truth that the world critically needs. Don’t stay silent when you can testify to these truths, and there is absolutely no need to be ashamed of your faith.
An old sport’s adage says “the best defence is a good offence.” Instead of playing defence against the onslaught of a sinful world, it’s time the Church went on the offensive and proclaim that the truths of Christianity are the only hope for a lost and dying world.