“The Hope of the Church” American Sentinel 12, 12, pp. 178, 179.

IT is the hope of the Church to-day, according to the testimony of the words and actions of her most prominent representatives, that the kingdom of Christ shall “enter the realm of law through the gateway of politics.” And this hope is, in her view, to be realized through her own efforts to obtain control of the world’s political power.

Has the Church no better hope than this?

It is certain that no such hope as this is set before the Church in the Word of God. Does that Word then, provide no hope to be kept in view by the Church in her earthly warfare?

Every one who has read even a small portion of God’s Word knows that this is not so. The Scripture is full of hope for our fallen race. It was given the race that they might have hope, in place of the despair which is the fruit of sin. No Christianity need be told of the “Christian’s hope.” No brighter hope was ever cherished than this hope. No hope ever rested on a more secure foundation, or was more sure of realization by the faithful seeker. And the Christian’s hope is the hope of the Christian Church.

What, then, is this hope? Many portions of the inspired Word furnish the answer. By the Apostle Paul it is referred to in his epistle to Titus, in his exhortation that we “should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world, looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” Titus 2:12, 13. The same apostle, when under arrest before the Roman governor Felix, affirmed his “hope toward God,” “that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust”; and again, when before King Agrippa, said, “And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers, … for which hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead?” Acts 24:15; 26:6-8.

It would be needless to cite all the passages of Scripture which elucidate this subject. Their testimony leaves no room for doubt or misapprehension. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is set forth as the cardinal truth upon which the hopes of Christians depend. “If Christ [179] be not raised,” wrote Paul to the Corinthians, “your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” And he adds, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” 1 Corinthians 15:17, 19. The resurrection of Christ from the dead is the sure pledge of the resurrection of all those who “sleep in Jesus.” And this resurrection is to take place at the second appearing of Jesus Christ in the clouds of heaven, in the glory of his Father, and attended by all the holy angels. At that time the righteous will enter upon their eternal reward, which has been secured to them through the gospel. Matthew 16:27; 24:30, 31; 25:31-34, etc.

We are, then, upon this divine authority, to live “soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world, looking for that blessed hope”—not of the entrance of Christ’s kingdom into “the realm of law through the gateway of politics;” not of the “regeneration of society” through the Church’s political supremacy,—but of “the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” even as we are exhorted by the Apostle Peter to consider what manner of persons we ought to be, “in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God.” 2 Peter 3:11, 12. Our hope, the Christian’s hope, and the hope of the Christian Church, is that of his coming again to earth in the power and glory of his Father, to raise the righteous dead, terminate the reign of sin and sorrow, and take to himself and to their eternal reward all those who shall then stand justified by faith in him.

Is not this hope sufficient for the Church? Could there be a brighter, better hope to illuminate her pathway and cheer her in her warfare against earth’s sin and error? Could she look forward to any better, more satisfactory termination of the long contest of sin and righteousness for the supremacy? Is the hope of “regenerating society” and “purifying politics” through the acquisition of political supremacy, a hope that can bear comparison with this?

Why, then, has the Church turned from this “blessed hope,” established by God’s own Word, to occupy her time and energies with the miserable and chimerical project of trying to usher in the kingdom of Christ through “the gateway of politics?” How long will she live so far beneath her privilege?

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