What is our Hope?

  • Pete Johnson

Yesterday our church family, along with hundreds more, celebrated the life of John Sliwinski. A husband, father, respected Alaskan Aviator, and most importantly a born-again believer. Being both a participant and observer I was moved by several observations. First was the multitude of people that came, some even from out of the state, to pay their respects to the family and the memory of John’s legacy of life. Second was the foundation of faith that John possessed and how it permeated from his life into the life of his wife, children, and the multitudes that knew him.

I’m sure that in a crowd of that size, there were many present who did not have the faith in Jesus Christ that John had. To be sure, the family shared not only memories about “Papa,” but also about his faith along with the Gospel message.

But like John and other believers, Hope was evident within the family that John was indeed in the presence of his Savior, and that they would see him again one day.

Unfortunately, there are scores of people in this world who believe that our Hope in Christ is just an illusion and that there is nothing after death.

Karl Marx (1818-1883) made famous the following quote:

“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”

He was not the originator of this flawed thinking, it began much earlier, in the Garden of Eden, Genesis 3:1-7.

For many hope can only be found, if indeed it can be, in what you can gain for yourself here on earth, for there is nothing after death.

Ensuing communistic leaders and theorists have reproduced and enlarged Marx’s ideas and applied them in their own national ideologies. One such man was Vladimir Lenin. Lenin, heavily impacted by Marx, stated this about religion:

“Those who toil and live in want all their lives are taught by religion to be submissive and patient while here on earth, and to take comfort in the hope of a heavenly reward. But those who live by the labour of others are taught by religion to practice charity while on earth, thus offering them a very cheap way of justifying their entire existence as exploiters and selling them at a moderate price tickets to well-being in heaven. Religion is opium for the people [opium naroda]. Religion is a sort of spiritual booze, in which the slaves of capital drown their human image [obraz], their demand for a life more or less worthy of man.”

The apostle Paul in 1 Corinthains 15:12-22, wrote the opposite regarding faith:

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

Emphasis on verse 19-22:

As believers we have Hope. It is found in the finished work of Christ Jesus on the cross.

It is not just a hope for now when crushing things happen, it is a hope that we can cling to and rest assured in because Christ has indeed risen from the grave. So then, those who put their faith and trust in Him have Hope now and an eternal hope.

In closing, I’d like to leave you with the words of the song that was sung at John’s celebration of life. I pray that you can honestly resonate with these words like John did.

Verse 1

What is our hope in life and death? 
Christ alone, Christ alone. 
What is our only confidence? 
That our souls to him belong. 
Who holds our days within his hand? 
What comes, apart from his command? 
And what will keep us to the end? 
The love of Christ, in which we stand. 


O sing hallelujah! 
Our hope springs eternal; 
O sing hallelujah! 
Now and ever we confess 
Christ our hope in life and death. 

Verse 2

What truth can calm the troubled soul? 
God is good, God is good. 
Where is his grace and goodness known? 
In our great Redeemer’s blood. 
Who holds our faith when fears arise? 
Who stands above the stormy trial? 
Who sends the waves that bring us nigh 
Unto the shore, the rock of Christ? 

Verse 3

Unto the grave, what shall we sing? 
“Christ, he lives; Christ, he lives!” 
And what reward will heaven bring? 
Everlasting life with him. 
There we will rise to meet the Lord, 
Then sin and death will be destroyed, 
And we will feast in endless joy, 
When Christ is ours forevermore.