My Hope is in Jesus
James Smith, 1856
It was a cold dreary day in December, when I first called to see Susan Abrahams; she was lying in a little back room, in which there was no fire-place; the wind rattled round the house, and the snow was falling fast. Everything, to the natural eye was very cheerless, and the poor girl was exceedingly weak. She had been suffering for some time, and was now sinking fast. Her countenance looked calm and quiet. When my eye first rested upon her, and I felt sympathy.
"My poor girl," said I, "you appear very ill."
"Yes," she replied, "I am ill, Sir."
"Well, while your body is suffering, what is the state of your soul?"
"Ah! Sir," she said, "I have had a severe conflict. Satan has sorely tried me. I feared lest my faith should fail, for I felt many doubts rising up in my mind, and at times I experienced great darkness — but now all is peace."
"From what does your peace spring?" I asked.
She looked at me, as if she felt intensely, and said, "My hope is in Jesus. He came to save sinners. He lived and died to save sinners. He intercedes in Heaven to save sinners. I am a sinner, Sir, a great sinner. But I have fled to Jesus; I daily fly to Jesus; and when my eye is fixed simply on Jesus — peace flows into my soul. My hope is in Jesus!"
"But have you not lived a moral life? Do you not pray, repent, and exercise faith in Christ — and do not these things give you peace?"
"O no, no," she added, with emotion, "my works are all imperfect; they are all sinful; they need pardon; and except they are washed in the blood of Jesus, they cannot be accepted of God. Not my works — but the work of Jesus. Not what I do — but what Jesus has done. Not my sufferings — but the one sacrifice of Jesus, is the ground of my peace. My hope is in Jesus."
"But is it Christ alone that is the ground of your hope, and the source of your comfort?"
"Yes, Sir, Christ alone! I renounce every one but Jesus; I discard everything but the perfect work of Jesus, as the foundation of my hope. If I take my eye off Jesus for one moment, fears arise, doubts spring up, my mind becomes agitated, and my prospects beclouded. But when I look again to Jesus, and keep my eye fixed on Him alone — my peace returns, and my fears die."
"But are you not tempted sometimes to think that you are under a delusion, and that you will find yourself deceived at last?"
"Yes, O yes, I have often had these temptations, and when I have given way to them — my distress has been great, and my soul has been surrounded by darkness — darkness that might be felt."
"And how have you obtained relief?"
"Only by turning away from these suggestions, and coming to Jesus afresh, as a poor, lost, ruined sinner, and casting himself entirely upon him. My hope, Sir, is in Jesus!"
"Then, do you expect to receive everything from Christ?"
"Yes, Sir, everything. Jesus is my wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. I have nothing of my own. O, Sir, they are precious words — 'You are complete in Him.' All my religion stands in looking to Jesus, expecting from Jesus, and trusting my soul alone to Jesus. My hope is in Jesus."
"But what if you should be deceived?"
"The thought of that, Sir, is dreadful — but I do not believe it possible; for when my eye rests simply on Jesus, I seem to have the witness in myself. I feel that I am accepted of God. I cannot doubt but God is at peace with me, having forgiven me all trespasses."
"Are you fond of reading?"
"Yes, I sometimes think I have been too fond of it. But I read little besides my Bible now. I find there is nothing like God's Word. I can depend on that. I read a short portion, pray to the Holy Spirit to explain it and apply it to my soul, then close my eyes, and try to meditate upon it. O, Sir, I sometimes enjoy precious seasons in this way."
"But do you not meet with difficulties in the Bible?"
"Yes, Sir, with many — but I dwell principally on the promises, and you know they are very plain, and, O how sweet!"
She was now exhausted; I therefore commended her to God, and, taking her by the hand to say farewell, she looked in my face with a smile, and once more said, "My hope is in Jesus!"
Reader, how is it with you? Have you a hope — a hope of everlasting life? If so, on what does it rest? If it rests on your prayers, Sunday services, sufferings, or good deeds — then it is a false hope, and will fail you at last. A good hope always rests on Jesus — and on Jesus alone. He is our hope. We expect to go to Heaven — because He left it, came to earth, fulfilled the holy law, took our sins upon Himself, and died in our stead, the just for the unjust. We have no more confidence in our prayers — than in our sins. Our confidence is in Christ alone.
If we plead with God — we plead Jesus.
If we silence the accusations of Satan — it is by the precious blood of Jesus.
If we calm and quiet our consciences — it is by looking away from everything to His great atonement.
If we look forward to death with comfort — it is because Jesus died for us, and so took away the sting of death.
We renounce everything, as the ground of our acceptance with God — but Jesus and his gloriously finished work.
Are we pardoned? It is for the sake of Jesus.
Are we justified? It is in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Are we sanctified? It is also in the name of Jesus, by the Spirit of our God.
Jesus is our Alpha, and He is our Omega — the beginning and the ending, the first and the last. We come to Him for all that we need now, and look to Him for all we shall require during life or in death.
Our hope is in Jesus. Take Him away, and our religion is like a building whose foundation is removed; it falls into ten thousand pieces. Without Christ we are lost, ruined, and eternally undone; with Christ we are saved, exalted, and shall be eternally happy.
Reader, is it so with you? What do you think of Christ? How do you treat the Savior? Do you make him your all — or only use Him to help your own performances, and make up your own deficiencies? Beware, O beware, of building on the sand, or on a false foundation! Jesus alone will do on a sick bed, when sin stares you in the face, and Satan appears to resist you. Jesus alone will do in the swellings of Jordan, when heart and flesh are fast failing. O may my eye rest on Jesus when sickness seizes me, when death smites me, and when the doors of eternity are opened before me! May my living and dying testimony be this, "My hope is in Jesus!"
My hope is built on nothing less,
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name!
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand!