“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” (1 Corinthians 15:19, NIV84)
For most people hope rests in the wishes of this world. I hope to get married. I hope to have children. I hope to have a good job. I hope to get rich so I can have boats and vacations. Then we mature and we hope that our family remains healthy. We hope that our income grows. We hope that society stays sane and that we can leave this world a better place for our children. But what if all of those hopes fall dreadfully short of the real hope that God has for us? Paul says in the verse above that if our hope is for this life only, then we are to be pitied more than all. Everything in this life corrodes, dies, fades away. It is all momentary. There is only one thing eternal, and that is God. If our hope is not rooted in Him, then we really have no hope at all.
Our hope in Jesus Christ has roots in eternity. There are eternal ramifications of our hopes in Jesus. His Word promises that there are places in Heaven prepared for us because of our faith in Jesus. God also promises that when we live this short life on Earth and go to Heaven we will no longer experience pain, suffering, and tears. We are promised by God that we will live in perfect peace with Him. This hope connects us to the promise God made in Genesis, that He would send one who would crush the Devil’s head. Real hope begins with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Does that mean that God’s promises are just for eternity? No! We just need to be aware every day that His promises extend into eternity. But the reality is that He provides many promises for this life as well. He promises to be with us through everything we experience in this life. He promises to provide us His Holy Spirit to guide us in the truths that we need to direct our lives on this Earth. He promises to supply all we need for body and soul. So, the point is that the person who limits this hope in any way is to be pitied. God has provided abundant temporal and eternal promises for us to root our hope in.