Thursday, May 5, 2011
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,
Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed,
And to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. Titus 2:11-14
When you are at the lowest moments in your life, where do you find hope?
What is the Blessed Hope?
Let's just walk through the verses above and meditate on all that the Lord has revealed here through Paul in these few words.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men. Think about that for a minute, the grace of God change everything. Paul explains grace in more detail when he said: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 and; “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.” Romans 11:6. Although this gift of God is free to all men and not only do they NOT need to earn the free gift, they cannot earn it. Jesus explained that this free gift is God’s will when He said: “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:40
Instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires: Well some would say that if salvation is by grace and not works, and if we are justified past, present, and future, as a result of what Jesus did ... doesn’t that mean that I can have the best of both worlds … salvation throughout eternity; plus do as I please, here on earth? Or on the other hand, does the Bible contradict itself right here ... all in one sentence? NO and NO … Ephesians 2:10 says: "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." Our salvation is for the very purpose of fulfilling God’s will; for the truth of God, and the Love of Christ to control and transform us. Paul answers this question in more detail when he says: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or, do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Romans 6:1-3. God’s warnings give further insight to those who would consider such foolishness: “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.”
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 and also:
“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:36.
Anyone who pretends to be a follower of Christ and chooses to disregard God’s Word; will be exposed by the Creator of all things … as one who never knew Him. A true believer will be convicted in his heart of sin in his life, by the Holy Spirit. Ongoing unrepentant sin, and no conviction in one’s heart; should be a red flag to anyone who is claiming to be a Christian, and professing Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
God's will for each of us is clear: do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2
And to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age
Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
How do we live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age? How would you know that this godly condition is a reality in your life? First, you must be transformed by the renewing of our mind; and then here is a Biblical description of how you will appear to all around you: “For the love of Christ controls us …and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf …so from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view …the old things passed away; behold, new things have come …we are ambassadors of Christ, with a ministry of reconciliation …so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 These qualities will describe who you are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Living the love of Christ means: “Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:10. This type of transformation is from the inside out. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit combined with us loving God … by doing His will can this become a reality.
Looking for the blessed hope, and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus
Okay, so what is the Blessed Hope?
When you study this statement, you will quickly learn that this phrase means many different things to different people. In fact the Blessed Hope goes back to before the foundation of the world, and reaches up to the heavenly places. Jesus explains the hope when He teaches in the temple from the vision of the prophet Daniel and He says: “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. John 5:28-29; and also here: “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:38-40
The many teachings about this hope are throughout all of scriptures: Paul quotes the prophet Isaiah when he says: “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:12-13
And Jesus makes this clear to the apostles at the last supper: “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:1-3
Paul further explains here to the saints at Thessalonica this Blessed Hope. It is the resurrection of the dead in Christ; and the catching up or rapture of the church of Christ; who will be transformed into their heavenly bodies “in the twinkling of an eye” to live eternally with Christ in heaven.
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we, who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
This should be a primary focus of every believer until the day Christ appears in the clouds … especially in these times ... when the signs of His coming return are so clear. “Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
The Blessed Hope is the appearance of Christ in the clouds; the resurrection of those who have died in Christ; the catching up or RAPTURE of Christ's church; their transformation to heavenly bodies in the twinkling of an eye; and moving on to eternity in Heaven with Christ.
So ... have I carried this hope to an extreme?
That is God's will for you and I ... and my hope and prayer also.
God bless you my friends, Bob