The Christian faith is not based on karma or coercion. It is instead a faith of hope. Faith in Christ is the knowledge of and belief in the truth and effectiveness of His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. The knowledge of these things and belief in them give us hope for our own resurrection and ascension that we might spend eternity with God. Hope. Faith in Christ gives us hope, and that hope should change us.That is the natural thing that happens when we come to believe something new: we change. We can no longer act as if we do not know the thing learned. Certainly, faith in Christ involves the supernatural, as the Holy Spirit gives us eyes to see and ears to hear and comes to dwell within us. But even natural knowledge gained comes with a responsibility to change in accordance with what we know to be true.
One of the cornerstone ideas in Norms & Nobility, David Hicks’s well-loved treatise on classical education, is that classical education should lead not only to right thinking but also to right if not righteous acting. Hicks does not develop this idea apart from Christ; in fact, he furthermore asserts that one of the main goals for classically educated students is imatatio Christi, the imitation of Christ.
One of the problems plaguing the modern church—and therefore everything else that Christians touch—is the lack of difference between Christians and non-Christians. There is often far too much similarity between the body of Christ and the rest of the world. Do we not know that Christ expects something different from those who hope in Him? Our hope should make us different people. We should be identifiable as Christ followers from a mile away because we should be Christ imitators.
In Romans 12:9-18 Paul gives us a really good idea of what our hope should produce:
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
This is how people who place their hope in Christ should live their lives. The Apostle James said that faith without works is dead. The same is true for hope. How can you say you hope in Christ if you do not live the life Christ called you to live? If you have come to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and have put your hope in Him, then you are a new creation. Your hope will not allow you to live like those who have no hope.