The Blessed Hope

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,” (Titus 2:11–13, NASB95)
A study of concentration camp survivors found that those prisoners who were able to hold onto their sense of hope, ‘that things are going to get better’ or ‘we’re going to get out of here one day’, showed that these prisoners were much more likely to survive. Hope then is not optional, but for these prisoners proved to be a matter of life and death. Hope to the believer is like water to a fish or air to a human – a must to survive.
The blessed hope of the believer is the anticipated return of Jesus. In Jesus’ first advent, hope was realized as Jesus the Savior of the world appeared. God’s grace was manifested in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, so that man’s initial hope for a savior was fulfilled. Paul would write to the believers in Rome about how their initial hope of salvation has been fulfilled, and yet there was a hope that remained, “For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” (Romans 8:24–25, NASB95)
The Christ follower therefore lives in the tension of hope, an already and not yet condition. In one sense man’s hope has been fulfilled through Jesus’ first advent, death and resurrection, and yet there is another element of hope yet to be realized, Jesus’ return in His second advent. Living within the tension of hope, is living with the knowledge that you are saved, and yet also living with anticipation of Jesus’ return. How shall we live within this tension? We should live our lives looking for Jesus’ return, as one who denies ungodliness and worldly desires, living sensibly and righteously. The word for looking, is to remain in a state of expectancy concerning a future event. In other words we are to live a self-controlled life in this present age, as if Jesus will return at any minute. Our future hope is not based on a maybe, but guarantee of the future event of Jesus’ imminent return.
Where is your hope? Is it solely on the fulfillment of salvation and not the anticipation of Jesus’ coming? Are you eagerly looking for Jesus’ return? Only when we see Jesus face to face will the blessed hope of the believer be realized. May you live your life looking up, for Jesus is coming soon.

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