In saying those words, “I hope so,” I’m acknowledging I’ve done some bad things. I’ve said and done things that were selfish / destructive. The Bible says, all have sinned (Romans 3:23). Something within me tells me I’m not worthy of heaven. But I hope I can do enough good things to offset the bad things I’ve done and perhaps that will be enough to get me into heaven. I really don’t think I’m that bad, so maybe I can somehow fix the mistakes I’ve made.
But in those quiet moments, when I’m all alone with my thoughts, I realize, I have failed, I have made some mistakes; I realized sin is serious and I experience a sense of guilt and shame. It’s kind of like the Peanuts comic strip. Lucy is playing baseball and she is explaining to Charlie Brown why she dropped a routine fly ball. “Sorry I missed that easy fly ball, manager. I thought I had it but suddenly I remembered all the others I’ve missed and the past got in my eyes.”
This is the problem with sin, our past failures are always ‘in our eyes’ and we can’t change the past, we can’t undo what we’ve done, we can’t fix ourselves. But still we hope we can do enough to make it to heaven. The problem is, how much is enough? We never really know where the bar is set, what the quota is. So we live with the uncertainty of never really knowing, but, we ‘hope so’.
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 john 5:13) God says I’ve given you my Word that you might know with certainty that you have eternal life. He never intended for us to live with the kind of doubt and ambiguity that trouble the heart of so many. God says I want you to be sure, I want you to have confidence, no more wondering, no ‘I hope so’.
As we celebrate the season of Advent, we are reminded that Jesus Christ came to provide a way for sinful man to be reconciled to the Father. Jesus came to change our condition; He died to ‘fix’ our brokenness, to pay for our mistakes, to change our destiny. The gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:23) This is the message of Christmas; the central message of the Christian faith.
What’s keeping you from receiving the gift; from receiving all that God has waiting for you?