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What is our hope of a Christian? For the atheist, there is no hope of a life after death, and if he has any hope at all, it is only that all his misery on earth will be over with his death. For Christians who know there is a life to come, they emphasise different aspects of that life generally based on what they have gone through in life. For some it is that there will be no more death but they can live forever (Jn.11:26). For some others the greatest thing is that they can escape hell and have a life in heaven (Re.20:15). Some people are looking forward to meeting their loved ones again who have passed on earlier (1Th.4:13). Some think of freedom from the pain and sorrow of sickness, handicaps, poverty and failures (Re.21:4). Some think much of the mansions Jesus has prepared for them and the golden streets to walk on (Jn.14:2,3). Some think of having no people there to trouble them. This list can go on.
There is nothing wrong with this list. In fact, all this and more are included in the promises God has made to His people. Whatever has gone wrong with this world will be set right in the new heaven and the earth, and it is right to look forward to that. 'Comfort' is part of the blessing we receive when we believe what God says He has prepared for us. After writing about the rapture, Paul tells the believers, "Therefore comfort one another with these words" (1Th.4:18).
However, there are some things that ought to occupy our minds much more than what is mentioned above. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled" (1Pe.1:3,4). Note the word 'undefiled' which means 'pure'. Now look at what John says, "Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure" (1Jn.3:2,3).
Many people claim to have seen Jesus in a vision or a dream. But none of them has seen Him as He is because no one can see God and live. But when we stand finally before Him face to face after having been transformed to become like Him, we will be able to see Him as He really is. This - to finally see the One who has given Himself for us - has been the strongest desire of many godly people who have come to know Him intimately while on earth. When they were moved by this desire, their response was to purify themselves to be just as pure as He is. Godly people long to be free from their sins.
What happens if we are longing for all the things similar to what is in the list above, but are not taking care to purify ourselves in our thoughts, intentions and behaviour? The chances are that we have not heard the Gospel properly.