Have you ever messed up so bad you just didn’t think there was any hope of getting out of the terrible situation in which you had placed yourself?
In Hosea’s day the people really messed up – idol worship, mistreating one another, lying, stealing and being violent against each other – even so, there is a glimmer of hope in chapter eleven that Jesus was coming to deliver His people.
“Life seems darkest when we see the reality of our sin. How dark it is in the light of God’s holiness!…But we have hope because we have forgiveness. We know that Christ shed His blood for the forgiveness of our sins, … And we know our consciences are cleansed by this same blood. Rejoice!” – Kay Arthur
Hosea did not make many calls for repentance, instead we find a lot of announcements of judgment. Even so, He spent time trying to show them the way, teach them the way and there were small steps of joy in all of that for Him.
Here is what I love about God – and Hosea screams this at me – just like the poem Footprints in the Sand – we do not even know how many times God has healed us, carried us, protected us, opened doors and closed doors for us – He is so amazing. How is it that I cannot trust Him more?
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
I took them up in my arms;
but they did not know that I healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness,
with bands of love.
I was to them like those
who lift infants to their cheeks.
I bent down to them and fed them. – Hosea 11:3-4
To have a new life and to move and act in that new life means we are now operating with new principles and under new powers as those who have been justified and have now a new hope because of a new birth.
This walk can be quite difficult – and it helps to know that the glory of the resurrection and the complete putting off of the flesh lies before us.
The Father pronounced His final victory over sin and over death as He raised Jesus from the dead. We join in that victory as Christ leads us into our new life – not just a different lifestyle; rather one operating from a completely redefined perspective. We are actually made new by and through our relationship with Christ. Again, this does not take away what our walk looks like or the intensity of our struggle that we will encounter. But it does determine that there is now hope and there is a promise of victory as Christ enfolds us into His resurrection. Our new walk is one that is done daily with God.
That is why life that has been freely given by grace is not an invitation to sin. Our hope in a future resurrection makes itself known with the life we live now – one where sin has been put to death and we walk in newness and righteousness of life.
It is this very promise that one day we will share in this victory that gives us the desire and power to overcome sin right now.
“Sin can’t enslave a person who is utterly confident and sure and hope-filled in the infinite happiness of life with Christ in the future.” – John Piper
1 Peter 1:3 reminds us that living means our hope is rock solid. Our salvation can be described in the past, present and future.
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. – Romans 6:3-4