5. Who is entitled to hope in the god things promised by God?
Any Christian who follows the commandments of God and the sinner who repents are both entitled to hope in the good things promised by God.
`Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.` (Matthew 7, 21).
1. The Christian who fell into sin if he repents from all his heart may hope in God. Prophet Ezekiel assures us that if the lawless gives up on his wrongdoings and keeps the commandments, does justice and has mercy, he shall be forgiven by God of his sins. (Ezekiel 18, 21,22)
Indeed Manasseh, king in Judea, who urged the people to worship the idols, killing many prophets, was given by God in the hands of his enemies who put him in chains and took him to Babylon as a slave and threw him into prison.
But he feeling sorry for his sins and promising from the heart to repent God released him from prison and slavery and gave him back his kingdom. And he destroyed the altars of the idols (II Chronicles 33, 2-19) On the contrary the one who lives in sin, who doesn’t accomplish the will of God hopes in Him in vain. The terrible king Antiochus who tortured the saint Maccabees being eaten by worms hoped in the help of God but his hope was in vain. (II Maccabees 9, 28)
2.The Christin who accomplishes the will of God may hopein the help of God in all his needs but he should fight to acquire the good things he hopes to get from God.
Saint Paul advices us: `Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you.`
(I Peter 5, 7). But we should do our best to acquire the good things promised by God. Who wants to get rid of a disease and become healthy should have to use first the usual methods of healing. It is not good to ask for a miracle straight away. Saint aspostle Paul had the gift of making miracles but he advises his disciple Timothy to use in his suffering some wine. (I Tim. 5, 23).
6. What is the companion of the Christian hope?
The companion of the Christian hope is the fear of sin. Hope is like a boat with two paddles: onn one of these is written the mercy of God and on the other one the fear of His justice. Saint Apostle Paul advises us to work for our salvation with fear and fright. (Philip 2,12). With fear indeed because as the sailor who is in the middle of the sea is afraid even on good weather of the storm that could drown his ship the Christian has to live permanently with the fear of the storm that doesn’t spare anyone.
People who were liked by God as wise Solomon at the old age became wretched. Even some of the angels have fallen and some of them very low and they were rejected for ever. Our life is ended by death. Until then temptation can make anyone who doesn’t work for his salvation with fear and fright fall from the state of grace. (Philip 2, 12). That s why if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! (I Cor. 10, 12).
The fear of the Christian of sin doesn’t lessen his hope but increases it. The hope gives courage to go on it is like the winds that blows the sails of the ship. And fear makes the man prudent. It is like the load that keeps the ship in balance. The sails and the load help a good sailing.
7. Is Christian hope a divine gift?
Of course Christian hope is a divine gift that descends into the heart of man as enlightenment from God. The spirit of God keeps alive in ourselves the confidence in the eternal blessings. And the stronger is the enlightenment the more powerful is the hope.
8. What benefit gains the one who trusts in God?
Who trusts in God is blessed with a special protection from Him.
Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. (Ps. 124, 1).
Saint John Chrysostom, interpreting this verse says: `As the most powerful and numerous machines will not be able to overturn or shake this mountain the one who puts his faith in God will remain unflinching in front of all the blows.`
286 (Saint John Chrysostom, Comment on Psalm 124, cap. I, vol. V, p. 186). The one who puts his hope in God will never be abashed: Look, says wise Jesus Sirah at the peoples from the old times and see: Who had faith in God and was abashed?
(2, 10). A proof is the happening with the three young men who were thrown in Babylon in the hot oven and they escaped safe and sound.
(Dan. 3, 8-10). Joseph taken and sold as a slave in Egypt became the first in the entire kingdom of the Pharaoh. (Genesis 41).