In his book, Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way, J.I. Packer has a chapter entitled “The Gospel as of First Importance.” In that chapter, Packer discusses the pastoral and formational applications of the Gospel. Many are familiar with the quote from Tim Keller that “the Gospel is not the ABC’s of the Christian life; it is the A through Z of the Christian life.” Packer writes,
“In that spirit we offer the following ‘Gospel Alphabet’–twenty-six pastoral and formative reasons why the Gospel must retain primacy as the content of Christian education” (108).
This week, we come to the letter “H”.
H is for Hope
We focus on the Gospel also because it is the source of our hope. In face of the brokenness that fills the world around us and rises up within our hearts, what hope do we have? Apart from the Gospel we have none. But in the Gospel is a great and steadfast hope, and from this hopes springs forth faith and love sufficient for each day (Col. 1:5). Diminished “Gospels” may promote, on the one hand, easy believism or, on the other hand, may put the burden of salvation back on human shoulders rather than locating and leaving it in the hand of God. These deviations can offer no certain hope. The glorious Gospel is a blessed hope indeed (Titus 2:13), an anchor for the soul (Heb. 6:19). Christ in us is the hope of glory (Col. 1:27). This is the hope held out in the Gospel (Col. 1:23). With such a hope fixed within our hearts–based upon the certainty that God has made us his children and the confidence that we will be with Christ and like him forever–we long for and labor toward becoming more like him even now (1 John 3:1-3).