Our Blessed Hope
“Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness.”- Titus 2:13–14
Detractors of Christianity often characterize our faith as a pie-in-the-sky religion, one so focused on the life to come that it produces people who do nothing about injustice in the here and now. This is simply a caricature of the church, for believers are concerned about the past, the present, and the future. There is an emphasis on the past and the present in the New Testament, for it continually looks back on the work of Christ in order to foster within us the desire to do good today in gratitude for salvation (Titus 2:11–12; 1 Peter 2:24).
Still, the actions of some professing Christians have given grounds for the charge that they are “so heavenly minded” so as to be “no earthly good.” But the failure of some to care about resisting injustice or to steward creation wisely because “this world is going to be made new anyway” only reveals their failure to understand the future rightly, not the uselessness of hoping in the consummation of God’s promises. As Paul explains in Titus 2:12–13, a “self-controlled, upright, and godly” life is always accompanied by a waiting for the “appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” Though we will not be like Him until the last day (1 John 3:2), we know that even now we enjoy a foretaste of that future in glory by the power of the Holy Spirit. Sin will be fully purged from our bodies at our resurrection. And we who rightly understand this truth also know that the Creator begins transforming us as we are sanctified in this present evil age; therefore, we are zealous for good works, knowing that by them we make the purity Christ has purchased for us more of a reality in our experience and taste more fully the sweetness of the life to come. John Calvin says that since nothing “ought to render us more active or cheerful in doing good than the hope of the future resurrection…believers ought always to have their eyes fixed on it, that they may not grow weary in the right course.”
Jesus’ work in the past has liberated us from the bondage of sin in the present (Titus 2:14), so we need not submit to its power any longer. As we long for our Savior’s return, our desire to have a taste of glory today grows, and we pursue holiness in order to know better the blessing of the resurrection to come.
The Holy Spirit is called the guarantee of our inheritance until we possess it (Eph. 1:13–14). One of the ways that He assures us of this is by giving a foretaste of it in our sanctification, using our hope in what we will be at the resurrection to begin moving us toward the full holiness we will experience on that day. Do you let the knowledge that all of creation, including your sinfulness, will be purged and renewed move you to pursue holiness and reconciliation today?
Passages for Further Study
1 Thessalonians 3:11–13
2 Peter 3:11–13