“Our Blessed Hope”
Bible Reading: Titus 2:11-14
January 5th, 1982. It was a day I had been looking forward to for months, even years. I had enlisted in the Navy six years earlier, and though I’d been a good submariner, even earning several commendations, all I could think about was being done. Prowling around under water in a long steel tube with a hundred other smelly men has its shortcomings. I was counting the days until my freedom. At night I’d sometimes dream about that day and alternately I’d have nightmares about being stuck in. I was waiting expectantly for the day I’d be set free.
Our text speaks to how we as believers are waiting, but for something infinitely better, our blessed hope. The term translated “blessed” means “spiritually prosperous.” Our passage speaks to two appearings of Christ (Titus 2:11,13). By both we are “graced,” but in the second we will be so in transcendent fashion. Note that this blessed hope which we are waiting for is not an event, but a Person–”the appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13; 1 Timothy 1:1).
What are we looking for? First, Jesus Christ is going to receive us to Himself. In that, the longing of your heart, for which your heart is even now groaning (2 Corinthians 5:4-7), will be fully and finally satisfied. Second, Jesus Christ is going to transform you to be like Himself (Philippians 3:20-21). That great work of grace, which God has patiently been working out in you, will reach its glorious conclusion. You will be like Him, and perfectly fitted forevermore to dwell in His presence. Thirdly, Jesus Christ is going to have you forever to Himself, to worship Him and enjoy Him in His glorious presence. We will marvel at Him! And Jesus’ long ago prayer to the Father will be fulfilled (John 17:24)!
This waiting for Christ is an attitude of heart. Much as I was eagerly looking to the last day of my Navy enlistment, we as believers are to be expectantly looking forward to our blessed hope. It is the one hope that is to rise above all others, preeminently so, in our minds and hearts. But contrary to repeated admonitions in Scripture, I’m not sure we are always living with this kind of longing for His return. It’s far too easy to set our minds on earthly things and we will inevitably gravitate to that, if the Spirit is not at work in us. We are earthbound by nature. Much like an un-inflated hot air balloon. It’s only when you fill the balloon with hot air that it defies gravity and ascends above. The Holy Spirit has a ministry of focusing our eyes on Jesus, and thus lifting our hearts and thoughts to a higher plane. To the extent that He fills us, and the Word richly dwells within us, we will live our earth-bound days with a heaven-bound mindset. Helpful too, is the encouragement we can offer one another (Hebrews 10:25), as we collectively remind ourselves that our hope lies not in the here and now, but in the there and then!
In his book “The Christian Life and How to Live It,” W H Griffith-Thomas commented on this, “Hope, in the New Testament, is always associated with the great future connected with the Lord’s Coming. Again and again, indeed no less than three hundred times, is the “blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior,” brought before us as the expectation of the Christian, and the crown of all his aspirations and endeavors…We look forward with joy and satisfaction to the time when we shall see Him as He is, and be made like unto Him in His eternal and glorious kingdom… Joy looks upward, peace looks inward, hope looks forward. The Christian hope is fixed on the coming of the Lord!”
In Our Blessed Hope We Possess Something Well Worth Waiting For
Lord Jesus, How wonderful the day when the Spirit worked to open our eyes to the truth about You! Since that day You’ve been working to prepare us for the day of Your return. Though that’s something that should fill our hearts with eager anticipation, we don’t always think and live that way. Forgive us for our earth-bound ways! May the Spirit work within us to open the eyes of our hearts to the glory of all You’ve prepared for us! May we be led to mutually encourage one another as fellow pilgrims on our journey home! As we look to the blessed hope of Your coming, may others be drawn to look there too! Amen!