Gary Monks asks us to imagine a situation in which people are minding their own business when something horrendous happens out of the blue, turning their lives completely upside down. Such an event happened in 1918 to individuals living off the Scottish coast of the Isle of Lewis, where 205 men triumphantly returning home from combat tragically lost their lives in foul weather while just yards from shore, leaving mothers, wives, sweethearts, and family members devastated. When the clock stops, the whole world changes for every family member involved. We, as God's called-out ones, must realize that: (1) Trials are par for the course; nobody lives a charmed life. If we stand fast, God will provide a way of escape or a means to endure the suffering. (2) We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who have already endured the trials we are going through. We need to put on the armor of God, stepping into our spiritual boots to keep from slipping. (3) We need to stand fast for the sake of our family and friends, whom we expect to join us in God's family. The path we have traveled is narrow and we have slipped many times. God has not called us to fail . When Jesus Christ was sacrificed, the clock stopped and the world changed—for good and permanently.
None of us is perfect. We are all, in a sense, broken to some degree, whether from birth or by the constant grind of life. We have little hope of repair. James Beaubelle, however, finds real hope in Scripture, arguing that, if our hope is in our great High Priest, Jesus Christ, we can have faith that our hope will be fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.
Richard Ritenbaugh, reflecting that the greater church of God is different from nominal Christianity in that it embraces the 'Jewish' holy days and ignores Christmas, Halloween, and Easter, rejects the concepts of the Trinity, ever-burning hell, the immortal soul, and eternal security, asserts that many are afraid to associate with us because we appear as a weird and heretical cult. Even our concept of original sin is different from 'mainstream' Christianity. While Calvinists have depicted mankind as totally depraved, we believe that mankind is a mixture of good and evil. We have the ability to do some good. Even those without God's Law have some basic standards of human decency. Calvinists, straining at a handful of 'proof-texts,' believe that original sin is transmitted through blood and genes. Our human nature is neutral at birth, but inclined toward sin because we are born into a sinful environment and are driven by Satanic forces; it is not programmed into our genetic make-up. When Adam and Eve were given the death sentence by God, they also received hope that through the offspring of Eve a Savior (who would bring mankind abundant spiritual life) would be born to crush the head of the serpent, which had previously deceived her. God made coverings for Adam and Eve concealing their shame and guilt, prefiguring the covering for sins which would occur later, and adorned them with raiment, prefiguring the garment of righteous salvation. Our sins have put a barrier between us and God; He has provided a means of reconciliation through the blood of Christ. There is no possibility of a relationship with God where sin exists.
During the 2008 Presidential campaign, Americans have heard a great deal about hope. Yet, "hope" means different things to different people. Mike Ford explains that the political hope held out by politicians does not compare with the hope found in Scripture.