Thursday, May 4, 2023

The Hope of the Wicked (Proverbs 10:28; 11:7, 23; 14:32)

"The expectation of the wicked will perish" (Prov. 10:28).

What do you hope for? What is your expectation of the future? Do you wait patiently for the same hope that has sustained the people of God in all ages—the “blessed hope,” which is the “glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13)? Is your hope anchored in the love that God has lavished upon His children, the same love John alluded to when he wrote about the future expectation of the children of God: “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:2–3)?

The hope of the righteous is stored in heaven until the day they come into their eternal inheritance. But what of the expectations of the wicked? They, too, have their hopes. The lost of this world, though inherently steeped in the very same depravity that makes the world seem unbearable to them, confidently expect a better life once they have passed from this one. They generally expect eternity to grant them comfort and joy, contentment and serenity. Charles Bridges writes, “None have a stronger hope than those who have no ground for hope. And this delusion often reaches to the moment of eternity—nay, even to the ‘day’ of the Lord; expecting the door to be ‘opened to them,’ after it has been ‘shut’ for ever; dreaming of heaven, and waking in hell! The expectation of the wicked shall perish.”

The hope of the wicked will perish because it is not grounded in Christ. They hope in vain because they have rejected the very One who is the embodiment of hope. Peter exhorted the early Christians to “set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). What is the reason for this hope except that you has set apart Christ as Lord? Those who have rejected Jesus Christ as Lord, who have spurned the call of the Gospel, possess an empty expectation. Their hopes, their dreams, even if they are of the golden streets of heaven, will perish in flame as they wake, not in an eternity of bliss, but in an eternity of hell.

Do you easily become discouraged and depressed? Do you become frustrated with the toil of this life, with failing health, with sin? How can the hope of heaven lift your spirits? Could your despairing thoughts stem from a faithless heart? If so, find peace and hope in Christ today by trusting in Him and making Him your Lord.