“Remember that you were formerly gentiles in the flesh — called the uncircumcision by those called the circumcision in the flesh by hands — that you were at that time without Christ, alienated from the citizenship of Israel and a stranger to the covenant and the promise, being without hope and an atheist in the world.”
Would suppose that most atheists would not describe themselves as “without hope in this world.” Many would consider them free from the rules and bonds that the Christian gratefully lives under — commandments that we see as freeing and that teach us how to live faithfully and joyfully in this fallen world that is around us. They would see the commandments of God as fetters to their absolute liberty.
Yet, scripture offers a different picture. Of what value is hope if it is unfulfilled? Of what worth is hope if its only efficacy is your own work? Hope becomes an illusion and a opioid to get us through the day, yet without meaning or substance. The hope of the atheist is nothing more than that if he really works hard, he may or may not make something of himself in this life before he dies. Yet, this life is filled with disease, pestilence, and evil-doers. What hope is there in such a worldview? As would be echoed in the words of the American philosopher, Albert Camus, the only thing left is whether or not to contemplate the question of suicide. Or, in the words of Irene Luce, “Live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse.” While the phrase has been glamorized by film and novel, it is a horribly hopeless way to live one’s life and the mantra is little more than a smokescreen for a depressed and depraved soul.
So, yes, my friends, those without hope in God are hopeless in this world…and not just any God. Those without hope in Jesus Christ are hopeless in life and under judgement and wrath in death. A more somber picture one cannot paint.