Many Christians imagine that victory in Christ is to become the epitome of what the world desires in wealth and success and fame and to do it all better than the ungodly because Christians have Jesus on their side. Such is the misguided promise of positive confession. Though such a false hope may seemingly be supported by an isolated verse here or there taken out of context, it is the very antithesis of the consistent message of the New Testament.
Christ did not make promises, of course, for this earthly existence. He told His disciples that those who would leave father or mother or lands or houses for His sake would receive a hundredfold in this life. He was not granting ownership of these benefits, however, as is suggested by positive confession advocates, who promise that God will return $100,000 for every $1,000 given to their ministries. Christ offered something more wonderful than the hundredfold accumulation of great properties, luxury autos, and abundant goods. He promised that we would be taken into the homes and share the provisions of many others who know and love Him and who would love us, too, as brothers and sisters in the same heavenly and eternal family of God.
At the same time, however, Christ reminds us that inevitably these blessings come wrapped in “persecution” (Mark:10:30) as part of the package—persecutions that we are to experience as long as we remain upon earth. Unless, of course, we deny our Lord or compromise our faith. Then and only then can we expect to be popular with the world.
The Bible makes it abundantly clear that those who would be honored in this world rob themselves of heaven’s eternal rewards. Insight into what it means to “let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians:2:5) is found in this words from our Lord:
I receive not honor from men. How can ye believe [be men and women of faith], which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only (John:5:41,44)
The Christian’s hope is the return of Christ to take him to heaven, to be glorified with Christ in His kingdom, and to share His triumphant reign over this earth. “And when the chief shepherd shall appear,” wrote Peter, “ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away” (1 Peter:5:4). Referring to the same event, Paul wrote: “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Colossians:3:4).