Jumping ahead into Acts 24:1-10, we come to the Apostle Paul defending himself against accusations before one of the Roman governors. In verse 15, he speaks of a hope he has in God, “a hope…that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and unrighteous.” This really jumped out to me when I read it yesterday. What is Paul really saying here? We hear so much from some circles in the church that focuses on the separation of the people who are “right” with God and those who “aren’t.” We see similar things in politics and so so so so so many other areas. But is that what we want the world to be? Do we want the world to continue to be so divided? Is that what God wants in this life for us or in the life to come? While it may very well be that there will be that kind of separation in the life to come, is that what our hope should be? Even if one believes that there will be eternal reward in heaven and eternal punishment in hell, shouldn’t our hope be that we are wrong on that front? Shouldn’t our hope be that there is the resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous? Shouldn’t we hope that all people will come to salvation not only on this side of death but also on the other even if their life on this side did not reflect righteousness?
I think that ought to be our hope. It doesn’t change a calling to continue to proclaim the Gospel in deed and in word. It doesn’t change the fact that I call myself a Christian and that I do call others to live in the ways of Christ. But my hope is that God’s mercy is wider, deeper, and so much more than we can even ask or imagine.