Defiance comes from looking at ourselves

By Dave Henning / February 12, 2022

“Jesus has secured this [enormous place of light and high beauty] for us by his death and resurrection.  When this assurance abides in us, our immediate fate — how the current situation turns out — can no longer trouble us.  Defiance comes from looking at ourselves.  Hope comes from looking at him.”- Timothy Keller

Timothy Keller concludes Chapter 12 of Hope in Times of Fear with the third and fourth aspects of Christian hope.

3.  Christian hope is realistic.  Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s ‘dialectic’ reasoned that in history conflicting forces reached a new, greater synthesis.  Therefore, this meant every age improved on the one before.  Hence, history moved upward in a series of unbroken steps.  However, as two world wars in the last century showed, that’s simply unrealistic.

Consequently, Pastor Keller stresses, Christianity offers a realistic and infinitely greater, more wonderful destiny for human history and society.  The author explains:

“Jesus came to earth, but his life was not a series of upward steps.  He emptied himself of his glory and came and died, yet this descent led to an ascent of even greater heights, because now he rules not only the world in general but a saved people. . . .  This is not a Hegelian merger of equal and opposite forces!  Jesus did not synthesize holiness with sin or life with death.  He defeated sin and death through death.”

4.  Christian hope is effective.  Finally, Pastor Keller underscores, Christian hope exists at the life, or practical level.  In constrast, our hope in human beings and ourselves is best described as relative and uncertain.  And even though we claim the ability to secure the outcome we want, we never gain control of things.  Thus, our failed efforts at control = relative, ‘hope so’, hope.

However, when God’s the object of our hope – as opposed to any human agent – hope means full assurance.  In conclusion, Pastor Keller exhorts:

“Christian hope means that I stop betting my life and happiness on human agency and rest in him.”

Today’s question: What examples of defiance do you find in your life?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: the annotated bibliography of Hope in Times of Fear

About the author

Dave Henning

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