Hope is energising and is the result of a hopeful vision. Without hope, we are resigned to either indifference or despair. And without a hopeful vision, we are destined to walk around aimlessly as we slowly waste away. (Proverbs 29:18).
And, so, as Christians, we need to have a vision and we need to know where to find it.
Some people exist to make themselves visible. Whether through success, beauty, the accumulation of things or academic prowess. As a believer, you exist to walk with Jesus in such a way that He becomes increasingly visible in your life and the world increasingly brought to faith through Him (John 17:20-21).
That’s God’s vision for the world. That through the church, the world will witness an ever-increasing display of His Son.
In Revelation 21:9-11 the Apostle John is given such a hopeful vision. A vision of the church as a bride decked out to the nines for her husband. It’s a hopeful vision and one that motivates us to persevere and not lose heart in life.
Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
This is the vision of a bride made beautiful. And this is the direction—and the only direction—that the church is heading.
This is the vision of the church given by God and the implications are enormous. To take just one implication, John goes on to describe the effect that this city-bride will have on humanity. On account of her radiance, we are told that the nations will stream in and find healing from her trees. (Revelation 21:24-26; 22:2).
The image is one of victory. It is a glorious vision of the gradual increase of His government. (Isaiah 9:6-7).
Despite the prevailing pessimism in this world, Jesus will not be returning in order to collect an exhausted housewife wearing stained tracky-daks and clinging on by the tips of her broken fingernails. No.
Humanity fell in history, is being redeemed in history and will be transformed and made beautiful in history. Then the end will come.
When my wife and I married we decided to lay down a vision for our marriage, something that would direct our lives and decisions as a family. We settled on, “We Exist to make Christ visible.”
This is nothing more than the vision of the church. To make Christ increasingly visible to the world. Transforming and redeeming it through the gospel with eager expectation until His kingdom is visible from the river to the ends of the earth. (Zechariah 9:10)