Monthly Archives: October 2008

It is the gospel and not music that unites us

I just finished watching Bob Kauflin’s message delivered at the 2008 Desiring God Conference, titled: Words of Wonder: What Happens When We Sing?

Here are some of the many gems from the message:

It is the gospel and not music that unites us.

What does it say to the world when we can’t prefer each other long enough to have a meeting?

I don’t love the people in my church because we all have the same thing on our iPods. Because we can all name the same groups. Or we even all sing from the same hymnal. I love the people in my church because Jesus has enabled me to love them. 

In the book of Revelation, the host of heaven is not united in their style of music but in the focus of their song. (Revelation 5:9-10) What kind of music do people from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation sing?  I don’t know! God didn’t tell us! The Bible didn’t come with a soundtrack. And don’t you wish it did sometimes?…No God wants us to use music in the right ways, and so he tells us what the focus should be. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain. That’s what the focus is. The Lamb must always be central to our corporate singing. Because Jesus is the one who has made it possible.

Let us not walk into another meeting with this mindset. I’ll see what the musicians can do. I’ll wait until the music moves me. Oh no. God has already done something that should move us. He’s given up His Son. He died in our place. He rose in our place. and now He intercedes for us. How can we keep from singing?

This is the mystery, as we focus on the glory of the Lord, 2 Corinthians 3:18 says the Spirit works to change us from one degree of glory to another, so that our singing becomes more than simply a musical event. It is potentially life-changing. 

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This is a wonderful and timely message. I think we see it all too often with the whole ‘generation-gap’ issue. Upbeat, lively contemporary music vs. old hymns. Easy words and repetitive choruses vs. long and theologically laden verses. It gets to the point where we may even consider different services to cater to different generations. To paraphrase Kauflin, while this may be well-intentioned, it is inherently flawed and can undermine our witness. What does it say to the world when we can’t prefer each other long enough to have a meeting? Do you see this in your churches, or churches around you? Do you see it in Christian friends, or yourselves? Have we forgotten it is the gospel and not music that unites us? Why is that? 

There are also many other interesting issues raised in the message. One is the mindset with which we enter our corporate meetings. Do we wait for the music to move us? Do we see what the musicians will do? Or do we just go in with our heart bursting with song, because God has already done something that should move us?

You can read, watch, listen or download the message here. Feel free to let me know what your thoughts are.

Love the sinner, hate the sin

I often hear this phrase when Christians attempt to explain what it means for us to love our enemies yet hate sin and walk in the light.

I think there is a shade of truth in it, but I’ve heard it used in a more ominous way. Let me explain with an example.

Suppose we’re talking about homosexuality, and its practice. I choose this issue because I think it is one in which Christians are increasingly conforming to the world’s standards, rather than the biblical standard, unaware of what it means for the rest of their theology.

The question that often rears its head is: How do we love a gay person?

I believe love must eventually involve rebuke. This might not be wise at the start of a friendship, but it would be unloving to allow him to continue in his sinful lifestyle, because we know that the wages of sin is death. However, the manner in which we rebuke requires some contemplation.

This is where the phrase seems to come in. We say we love the sinner, but hate the sin. In my mind, I understand what people are trying to get at, but in practice I think it makes absolutely no sense. Can we really separate the sinner from his sin? Take the example above. Is homosexuality and the homosexual really two separate entities? If you choose to hate the sin, you’re going to have to hate the sinner, becaues the sin is very much part of the identity of the sinner.

In separating them in to two entities, I think this can mask the truth that the sinner is morally responsible for his sin. This sort of mindset seems to lead to the trivialising of sin. It’s not my fault. It’s the sin. Until we recognise our moral responsibility for sin, we will not recognise that it is a symptom of the greater disease of the human heart. And we will not turn to the remedy, Jesus.

It might even deceive the sinner into a lulled state of religiosity, whereby he believes he is involved in the church, and is part of the redeemed body of saints, while he continues to live in sin. This is ominous, because it denies the sinner the very truth he needs to hear.

How then do we love a gay person, or any other sinner for that matter?

I have a couple of suggestions:

1. Recognise that vengeance belongs to the Lord (Rom 12:9). It is not our place to judge the sin.

2. We are not instruments of God’s wrath. We are instruments of His grace and mercy. I think this is the point in 2 Corinthians 5:18-21. Paul is imploring on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Note the word imploring. It’s akin to begging. It’s the heart wrenching cry, “Repent before it’s too late!”

This sort of heart wrenching cry only comes when our own hearts have drunk deep in the fountains of God’s mercy, and exult in His gracious redemption from the misery of our sin. If we do not recognise the seriousness of sin, we will never come to rejoice in the mercies of God. God’s grace is not trivial. It is the very foundation of our new lives. And it is our duty to proclaim this gospel of hope: that God made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in Christ we might become the righteouesness of God. It is a burden. We proclaim it with hearts burdened with the eternal destiny of every individual around us. As C.S. Lewis so eloquently said,

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations–these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit–immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of the kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously–no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinners–no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment.

You have never talked to a mere mortal. It is immortals who we deal with every day. Immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.

3. That said, rest in the sovereignty of God in evangelism. It is not our duty to bring the whole world to Christ. There is no power in us to effect that. Only God can bring about a change of heart.

4. Finally, there is a way in which we hate sin but love the sinner, or as Lewis phrased it, “our charity must be real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinners – no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment.”

We hate the sin in two ways. We hate the sin because it has deceived the sinner, and they are headed for eternal destruction. We hate the miseries of sin. We hate the deception of the devil. We hate the corruption of the flesh. We hate passionately, so that we will not be seduced ourselves by sinful desires, so much so that if an eye causes us to sin, we should gouge it, for it is better to enter heaven with one eye than to enter hell.

We also hate sin because it is an affront to the glory of God. It diminishes the beauty of Christ. It mocks the honour of God. This is why we pray, let your kingdom come, for we should long for the day where Christ will return and put an end to sin once and for all.

But this judgment belongs to Christ. Hate does not imply judgment. Only Christ is righteous enough to judge. This is the crucial difference. We often associate hate with judgment and love with reward. But Christians are to act out hate with mercy. Sounds counter-intuitive. But when we recognise the redeeming power of the cross of Christ, we realise that there is not a sin that can be covered by the blood of Christ. In a sense we hate to hate, and so seize every opportunity to share the path of redemption with the sinner.

So implore like Paul: Be reconciled to God! It is possible! Don’t live in the misery and deception of your sin. Don’t exchange the glory of God for created things any longer. Christ became sin for us, so that in Him we might be the righteousness of God. Repent, and believe. Believe that your righteousness is in heaven. Your life is now hidden in Christ. The kingdom of God is near. And one day, He will return, and we shall be like Him in His resplendent glory.

Conditional grace?

I’m really loving Colossians. We were looking at Colossians 1:15-23 yesterday in our college bible study groups. While the first 6 verses are some of the most Christ exalting verses I have ever read, and just leave the weight of the glory of Christ pressing in on your heart and mind, and I could go on relentlessly about why everyone should memorise and meditate on those 6 verses (myself included – it’s amazing how quickly you forget something you’ve memorised a couple of months back if you don’t constantly keep it at the forefront of your mind), I wish instead to look at the last few verses. Mind you, this will actually be a pretty long article.

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. – Colossians 1:21-23

We often talk about the free and unconditional saving grace of God. Yet here it seems to me that these verses speak of a condition. Is it right then to say that God’s saving grace is unconditional?

There are 3 possible answers to this question. Each answer builds on the premise of the error of previous answers.

1) Paul is not talking about salvation (saving grace). This idea of being holy in God’s sight, without blemish and free from accusation is different from being saved from hell. God saves us from hell into heaven first. Being holy and without blemish is just an added bonus.

I think this is a fallacious view, but sadly one that is all too often adopted in the church today. As long as you’ve prayed a prayer, filled in a card, responded to an altar call, all is well. Salvation is like the Get Out of Jail Free card in Monopoly. At the end of your life, you just point to one of the moments above and say you should be in heaven (or at the least not in hell).

The biblical view of salvation is threefold I believe. I might be wrong on this, because I am treading on weighty doctrines that wiser men have spent many years studying. But with that disclaimer aside, I believe salvation is the combined act of justification, sanctification and glorification. For the sake of length, I’ll ignore the idea of election and predestination.

Justification is the work of Christ, whereby our sin is imputed to Him, and His righteousness is imputed to us, and that we are now righteous before God, not clothed in our own righteousness, but His righteousness. This righteousness is by faith. To be righteous means to be free from accusation. So the passage above clearly speaks of justification, 

However, though much weight is given to the doctrine of justification by Paul in his letter to the Romans, I believe this is but one image of what Jesus accomplished on the cross. As John Stott points out in his book, The Cross of Christ, this is the image of the law court. He cites three other images. The temple – propitiation, the marketplace – redemption, and the family – reconciliation. It is the last I wish to talk about, simply because the word reconciled is used here.

Not only are we justified, we are reconciled to God. We are brought into His family. The only perceivable way that we could be reconciled to God is if we were holy, just as is He is holy. Sinners cannot stand in the presence of a loving God.

Here is where things get a bit complicated. In being justified, we are free from accusation and regarded as holy in God’s sight, free from blemish, because of Christ. But here it seems that this appears to also be a future reality. While there is biblical precedence elsewhere that we are justified in the present, there seems to be an act of future justification. I think I have to be careful with the language I use here. I believe that it is more accurate to say that when we are justified, and reconciled, Christ also sets in motion a process by which we become more like Him. He doesn’t just save sinners from Hell, He makes them saints. It is a becoming of what we are. We are at once holy in God’s sight through Christ, but at the same time the rest of our lives is a process of becoming holy like Christ. This is sanctification.

I appeal to the image of reconciliation, because I think it helps to make more sense of the doctrine of sanctification. In being adopted into the family of God, we are to bear the family likeness, uphold the family honour, and attend to the family welfare.  The family likeness is holiness – we are to be holy, like God is holy. The family honour is the glory of God in Christ. The family welfare is our love for the saints. This is why salvation is not a Get Out of Hell Free card we keep and present at the end of our lives. Christ did not intend His sacrifice to bear so little value. He died to make saints out of sinners. 

So the divide between justification and sanctification, between salvation and holiness, is a false divide. They are but parts of the whole. I will pause just to stress one difference. Justification is wholly the work of Christ, but sanctification is wrought by us in partnership with the Spirit, though I will disclose the nature of this partnership more fully later. The last part of the whole is glorification. It is the hope of glory stored up for us in heaven. It is the inheritance of the saints which God has qualified us to share in. This is the final reality we are awaiting. Our glorification. We will be glorified. This is not a glory that will overshadow the glory of Christ, but it is the emanation of the glory of Christ in us. We are His body, and our glory is ultimately His glory.

So Paul is talking about salvation, but not salvation as we often falsely conceive it. This is salvation in its fullness, a three-part act of justification, sanctification and glorification, fully intertwined. One does not exist separately from the others. As Luther is often quoted, we are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone. There is clearly a reference in this passage to all three realities.

2) Our salvation lies wholly in the choice we make. The act of faith is the act of our will. God offers His grace unconditionally. But we must choose to accept it.

I think this is a universally accepted view, but one I regard as having many inherent problems upon further reflection. How do we deal with verses like these:

But it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9

So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. – Romans 11:5-6

In the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. – 2 Timothy 2:25-26

I know this is the classic argument of Calvinism vs. Arminianism, and the freedom of the will. I know there are other verses that seem to speak contrary to the ones above. But I throw these three out, just because I believe we can’t ignore the biblical evidence that faith appears to be a gift of God, a work of God’s grace, rather than the work of the will of man. If we could really choose Him, are we really still saved by grace? Or is there then some merit in our wisdom, our powers of discernment? To me, it seems the question of whether faith is the work of man, or the gracious work of God is one that must be worked out.

As it stands, I cannot come to believe that the work of faith is the work of man. Because I am so faithless much of the time. My will is too weak. My mind is an enemy of God. My heart is full of evil. If I am to believe that I can at all be redeemed, it must be wholly by the grace of God. My faith must be the working of His grace by His Spirit in my heart. I would not have come to Him unless He drew me first (Jn 6:44). That much I believe.

3) God is the author of our faith. And thus the grace of salvation is conditional, but it is the grace of God which supplies the very condition of faith. Just as salvation is the gift of God, the faith by which we are saved is also a gift of God. And in this way saving grace is wholly unconditional. 

What is the point of stating the conditions? I believe the purpose of the conditions is to give us assurance. Just as we cannot see the wind, but we see the trees sway, and hear the rustling of the leaves, likewise we do not see salvation, but we see the faith by which we are saved and the love we have for the saints. God has given us signs to assure us of our salvation.

And so we know we are holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation, if we continue in the faith, firm and established, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. I think it is then utterly crucial that we pray all the more for the grace of God to hold firm that faith. As Christ is the author, He is also the perfecter. Pray for Him to bring our faith to perfection. Not just faith for faith’s sake. Nor faith in any other thing. But rather faith in the hope of the gospel. And let us be clear what this hope is. It is not the hope of escaping from hell. It is the hope of the consummation of the kingdom of Christ and us receiving our inheritance in it. It is the hope that the glory of Christ will one day be magnified through His body, the church, and that every enemy will be trampled under His feet, and that He will reign for all eternity, in all wisdom and justice and love.

Fresher’s flu

Yes. I’m no longer a fresher but I have a terrible flu. This is somewhat incapacitating. It’s hard to think when you can barely breathe.

Give me a couple of days to recover before I resume writing.

A cyberspace stalker’s observations

I think I have some serious cyberspace stalking skills. Legal stalking I should add.

So here are two observations I have made.

1. People are very open with their struggles. Personally, I regard this phenomenon as an expression of people’s deep desires for true companionship. We have an urge to share our lives with someone. Though people are generally competitive, selfish and proud, at the end of the day, we all desire to belong to a community who accepts us in all our weakness. Today however, this communal sense of belonging has descended into superficiality. People tend to have many friends they can party with, but few they can share their deepest woes with. And so they turn to the blogosphere. It’s the equivalent of standing on a cliff, or a beach, and releasing all your frustration. Perhaps better still, it’s a place where you can let everything go, without the physical appearance of weakness. This is why you often see a different person in cyberspace and in real life. People foolishly cling to their pride even when they are in desperate need of help.

It’s a world in pain looking for comfort. But not willing to admit it.

2. People are less inhibited by moral constraints. They are more willing to speak ill of another. They are more willing to address immoral issues. Sometimes it even comes across as some sort of perverse competition to see who is the more depraved individual. I think this goes to show that even in such an immoral world, society does exhibit a certain kind of moral control. There are social norms which people are meant to adhere to. There are taboo subjects that should never be raised in the public consciousness. However I think that as the boundary between webspace and real life blurs, these social norms and taboos seem to be conforming more to the webspace norms and taboos.

I think a clear example would be how the increased use of internet pornography is a leading influence in the sexualisation of worldly culture. Men who might be judged for going to a strip club satisfy their sexual fantasies with internet pornography. Having saturated their minds with such sexuality, they are less sensitive to the sexualisation they see around them in real life. And so increasingly strip clubs have become accepted establishments. Another example would be the desensitivising of violence. While it’s taboo to kill in real life, it’s alright in the virtual world. But once the mind becomes saturated with virtual violence, it is no longer perceptive to real world violence. In this way, the lack of moral inhibition is spilling over to real life.

We should really pray for the grace of God to restrain the moral depravity of our hearts.

Mankind has come a long way since the beginning of creation. We have learnt to harness the power of the atom, create supercomputers that process information faster than our brains, and master flight, among some examples. Yet we are no different than we have been since the fall. If the internet is a fair measure of man’s heart, it appears we are as morally depraved, if not worse. Our hearts cry for help, for relief, yet we are still content to proudly suppress this ‘weakness’. We know there is something wrong, but we continue to adopt the mentality that if we can just pull the wool over our eyes long enough and rush headlong through the terrors of this life on an apsirin or two, perhaps we will get to the point where we don’t even need to worry about our nagging disillusionment.

God knows that won’t work.

Self-help and hope

Two brief things of note.

I went by Borders with a friend today, who was looking for a book. He then headed to the self-help section to have a look at the books on offer there.

It’s pretty amazing how large the self-help section of any bookstore is. Yet perhaps it is also unsurprising.

When you remove God from the center of the universe, and our lives for that matter, we don’t simply leave a void behind. We always substitute it for something else. In this sense, we are all guilty of idolatry. And the first idol in the Bible was the wisdom of man.

“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. – Genesis 3:4-6

I find this rather prophetic. In desiring wisdom, she turned away from the true source of wisdom and literally helped herself to some fruit. This is the origin of the self-help culture. The problem is we are seeking gain in the wrong place. There is only one Giver. And He has given us the greatest gift of all.

I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. – Philippians 3:8-9

. . . .

The second thing is this idea of hope. It has increasingly captivated me for the past few days. What is it about mankind that constantly looks to the future? What is it about mankind that it always looks for hope?

Obama sells hope. Self-help authors and proponents like Echkart Tolle and Oprah sell hope. Even some ‘Christians’, like Joel Osteen, sell hope! 

Hope is popular. It is always in great demand. There is never a recession. In fact, it is one of the few ‘goods’ that grow in demand when an economic recession hits. There’s always a bigger dream over the horizon. A higher ambition. A loftier goal. Mankind is never satisfied. It always hopes for something better.

In this respct, I would argue we are unique. I can conceive of no other example in the natural world which constantly hopes for something better.

Hope is a good thing. We are creatures of hope. We hope because we are aware that this is not the best of worlds. We hope because deep down we know there is something better.

This is why Christians are to be the most contented of all humans. We know this is not the best of worlds. We know there is something better. We know this because Jesus Christ stepped down into history to tell us this very truth. And He then proceeded to rescue all who repent and trust in Him into His kingdom in a most glorious fashion. We look forward in hope of the consummation of the kingdom, of life and joy eternal in the presence of God forever.  And unlike earthly hope, this is not an uncertain hope; it is a sure and living hope, built on the surest of all foundations, the blood and righteousness of Jesus.

I leave you with a rich doxology of hope.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. – 1 Peter 1:3-8

Faith, love and hope

We came across this passage in our college bible study today. I saw something interesting (or perhaps more accurately I believe God showed me something interesting).

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints— the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth. – Colossians 1:3-6

The gospel is the word of truth. It speaks of the hope that is stored up for us in heaven. And this gospel is bearing fruit and growing. What fruit is it bearing? The faith and love that spring from the hope spoken about in the gospel.

We often cite love as fruit, but also note that it seems the passage logically speaks of faith as fruit. Our trust in God springs from our hope in heaven. I believe the hope Paul talks about here is the hope of glory he constantly comes back to throughout the book of Colossians. The question that sprung to mind was the manner in which faith springs from hope.

I think the answer also lies in the passage. It is grace. The gospel of hope is bearing the fruit of faith and love among the church at Colosse, since the day they heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth. Here, we see two key ways in which the gospel of hope bears the fruit of faith.

The first is hearing it. This accords with Paul in Romans 10:17 when he speaks of faith coming from hearing the message, and that this message is heard through the word of Christ. This message must be the message of hope. The message of salvation, of the kingdom of God, is ultimately a message of hope. This is why Christ in us is called the hope of glory. But how does faith come from hearing? It is the gift of God. I believe this is the point Paul goes on to expound in Romans 11, and in it we see that the basis of election is God’s grace, not our works, which simply adds to the point that faith is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).

The second is is understanding God’s grace in all its truth. God’s grace here is qualified by the phrase ‘in all its truth’. I believe this simply serves to show that grace and truth are not divorced. What is the grace being understood here? It is grace in all its truth. It is every facet of grace. It is the grace of faith. It is the grace of spiritual wisdom and understanding (Col 1:9). It is the grace of love. And the sum of grace is Jesus Christ. He is the One and Only who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (Jn 1:14). So the Colossians have understood Jesus. They have understood that it is in Him they have redemption, the forgiveness of sin, and have been rescued into His kingdom (Col 1:13-14). And there is now a hope stored up for them in heaven, the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light, which the Father has qualified for them to share in, because of what Jesus has done (Col 1:12). Faith springs from this hope by understanding that the hope was purchased by the blood of Christ. Christ is the solid rock of hope.

Faith springs from hope through grace, and grace came through Jesus Christ. Christ is at the center of everything. It is Him who purchased our hope. It is Him who preaches this hope to us. It is through Him that God opens our ears to hear this hope. It is through Him that we are given faith to trust in this hope. And it is through Him, our Mediator, that we will continue to be supplied with the strength to endure and be patient, as we wait for His appearing, at which our hope will become reality, and our faith will become sight.

And now it is not surprising why Paul thanks God for the faith and love of the church at Colosse. It is simply because it is from God, it is through God, it is of God, and it is to God. He is the giver of everything and He is the sole recipient of all due glory. We are to praise the glory of His grace!

So when our faith and love are in decline, I believe the remedy is to fix our eyes on the hope to which we are called to. This hope is the riches of the glorious inheritance of the saints. We are to fix our eyes on the solid rock of hope. It is a living hope. It is Jesus Christ, and the blood-bought hope he offers to all. He is the author of our faith.

And He is the perfecter of our faith. Faith springs from the hope He purchased. And love is the perfection of faith. It is only faith working itself through love that counts (Gal 5:6). If He is the perfecter of our faith, then surely He will supply that love. We need only continually fix our eyes on the gospel of hope. Because when we do, we are willing to let go of all else. And only then can we truly love one another, because of the surpassing hope that we have stored up in heaven.

Hope in God! And He will graciously grant you faith, expressing itself through love. And until He returns or calls us home, we will continually live in the assurance of this living hope. There is no better place than that.