What is the Blessed Hope? #312
Happy Tuesday, everybody! Let’s open up with a kind bit of reader feedback:
Hi Chase, I just want to thank you for all the work you’ve put into this Bible reading podcast. I’ve listened to every episode as part of my bedtime devotional and it has been a great help to me and many others I’m sure. Keep up the good work. Peace in Christ – Margaret, Portrush, Northern Ireland
Thank you so much, Margaret! For those not familiar with Portrush, it is in the northern part of Northern Ireland, right up next to the Giant’s Causeway, and the home of the Royal Portrush golf course, one of the top 5 or 10 courses in the entire world. It looks very much like our Pebble Beach course, which is right next to the beach that my family and I go to here in Monterey country, Ca. I hope one day to go to the UK and Northern Ireland – it is a definite bucket list site!
Our Bible readings for the day focus in on Titus 2, and also include 2nd Kings 16, Psalms 126-128, and Hosea 9. Today’s show might be a bit short, because I am getting a bit of a late start. What is the blessed hope of the Christian life? Let’s let Spurgeon give us the answer, and then we can actually find Paul’s description of this blessed hope in Titus 2.
What is the blessed hope of the children of God; they are looking for the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven. As they look back by faith, they see their Lord upon the cross, and then they see him in the tomb, and then they behold him risen from the grave. The last glimpse they catch of him is as a cloud receives him out of their sight. He has gone into the glory, but believers have not forgotten those angelic words to the disciples, “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” So we expect him to come; and when he comes, then is to be the time of our highest joy. Even though we are now called the sons of God, “it doth not yet appear what we shall be.” Our glory, our full bliss, is as yet concealed; “but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” So, brethren, our hope is that, when Christ shall come, we shall be perfected, that then we shall be rid of every sin, and shall become holy even as he is holy, pure even as he is pure.
C. H. Spurgeon, “The Sinful Made Sinless,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 43 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1897), 134.
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
So the blessed hope of all Christians is the glorious return of Jesus. This is when faith becomes sight, and the reality of what we have hoped for, and yet not seen, becomes concrete. When Hebrews 11:1 becomes utterly fulfilled:
1 Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen Hebrews 11:1
It is also what I believe Paul is referring to in 1 Corinthians 13:12
12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known.
It is the fulfillment of the promise of Jesus in John 14:3
3 If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may be also.
and the promise of the very last verse in the Bible:
20 He who testifies about these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! Revelation 22:20
George Eldon Ladd, in his book The Blessed Hope, gives us a wonderful description of this event in his introduction:
At the heart of Biblical redemptive truth is the Blessed Hope of the personal, glorious second advent of Jesus Christ. Salvation has to do both with the redemption of men as individuals and as a society. Salvation of individual believers includes the “redemption of the body” (Rom. 8:23). We must not only be saved from the guilt of sin, and delivered from the power of sin. Redemption is not completed until we are delivered from the very effects of sin in our mortal bodies. The Biblical doctrine of the resurrection is a redemptive truth: it means the salvation of the body. This salvation will be realized only by the personal second coming of Christ.
Redemption also includes society. God’s redemptive purpose involves not only the salvation of individuals; God has a purpose and a goal for mankind as a society inhabiting the earth. The Bible teaches that throughout the entire course of this age, the power and reign of Satan manifests itself not only in the sinfulness and the physical sufferings and mortality of individuals, but also in the evils of corporate historical experience. Satan offered to our Lord authority over the nations, “for it hath been delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it” (Luke 4:6). While God is sovereign and Satan can do nothing apart from the will of God, there is truth in this declaration of the Evil One. God has permitted Satan to exercise his power in human history. Our generation has witnessed diabolical evils which the preceding generation would have said were impossible for enlightened, civilized men. The demonic element in history is increasingly manifesting itself.
God will not permit Satan to exercise his power in human history forever. Man will not destroy himself from the face of the earth, nor will this planet become a cold, lifeless star. The day is surely coming when the knowledge of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea, when peace and righteousness shall prevail instead of war and evil. The day is surely coming when God will take the reins of government into His hands and the kingdom of God will come on earth and His will be done even as it is in heaven. This glorious destiny for man will be achieved only by the personal, visible, glorious return of Christ. He is destined to be Lord of lords and King of kings. The second coming of Jesus Christ is an absolutely indispensable doctrine in the Biblical teaching of redemption. Apart from His glorious return, God’s work will forever be incomplete. At the center of redemption past is Christ on the cross; at the center of redemption future is Christ returning in glory.
George Eldon Ladd, The Blessed Hope (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1956), 5–6.
And to that, I say: MARANATHA!