Monday, 18 June 2018
…looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, Titus 2:13
Paul has just said that God’s salvation has appeared to all men. This then teaches us how to live in this present age. But the reason for the proper living isn’t just based on this life. If it were, what would be the point in living as Paul has directed? He told us that we are to deny ungodliness. That implies there is a God. He told us to deny worldly lusts. But if this life is all there is, then worldly lusts should be at the very heart of our existence. And he told us to live “soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.”
If this is our only age of existence, then to conduct ourselves in such a manner would be futile, hopeless, and a ridiculous waste of time. We would squander our one chance at existence, waste the fun we could have had, miss out on the opportunity to try every possible delight, and we would die and dissolve into the nothingness we were before we were born.
It is undeniable that if this life is all there is, we might as well live it freely and go out with a bang. However, Paul tells us that we are to live in these proper ways because we are “looking for the blessed hope.” The words “looking for” cannot be speaking about something we now possess, but something we are in anticipation of. We are waiting for something other than what is found in this present age, and which is apart from the world as we now exist in it.
The “blessed hope” then is that which transcends both the age and the world. Paul explains what is on his mind in 1 Corinthians 15 –
“And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” 1 Corinthians 15:17-19
As Christians, our hope is not grounded “in this life.” Rather, it is grounded in what comes after this life. This is the main theme of Paul’s words, and it is that which is far greater than this futile existence in which man otherwise finds himself. Therefore, our blessed hope is eternal life in a state and quality which we cannot yet even fathom. This wonderful promised existence is said to come with the “glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
The “glorious appearing” is speaking of that time when Christ comes for His people. There are various views on when this will occur, but a proper study of the doctrine reveals that for those in the church age, meaning the dispensation of grace, it will be at a point in time known as the “pre-tribulation rapture.” The term “pre-tribulation” points to a time before the seven years of tribulation, described in both Testaments of the Bible, which will come upon the world. The term “rapture” is a word that is explained in detail by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4. It is a moment in time when the Lord will come and translate His people to the glorious state in which they will forever-afterward exist.
The term “of our God” is speaking of Jesus Christ. God is unseen except as He is revealed through Jesus Christ. We do not see either the Father or the Holy Spirit. Therefore, this appearing will be that of Jesus Christ. This description of Him is then furthered by the term, “and Savior.” Jesus Christ is not only our God, but He is our Savior.
There is one God, and He is the God of all that exists. Whether acknowledged or not, God is the God of all people. However, not all people are saved. This is why Paul limits his terminology to Jesus. He is the God of Christians, and He is also their Savior. What He has in store for His people is the blessed hope which Paul speaks of.
Life application: Instead of “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”, let us look forward to our blessed hope; the glorious appearing of Christ for His people! This is the reason for circumspect living at this time. We will all stand before Him to receive rewards for our deeds done in the body now. Instead of loss, let us strive for great gain. All deeds that we do now which are in faith shall be rewarded as such.
Lord God, Your word calls for us to live in holiness now because of the anticipation of what lies ahead. If this life is all there is, there is really no reason to live in a right, moral, or circumspect manner. Those who deny God with their lips, but who attempt to live in a moral manner now, belie in their actions what their lips proclaim. Help us not to be foolish in our lives, but to work them out in holiness as we anticipate the glory which is yet ahead because of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.