The Blessed Hope - Titus 2:13

Philippians 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ

An interesting quote by none other than that old serpent, the devil himself, is found in the fourth chapter of Luke's gospel: "And the devil, taking him [Jesus] up into a high mountain, showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine." (Luke 4:5-7). Satan is the 'god' of this world at this present time as we learn from this passage of scripture, and he gives the power of it to 'whomsoever he will'. His offer of the kingdoms of the world on the condition of worship was refused by the Lord Jesus Christ. Another will come who will accept that offer. He is the one called Antichrist. The backdrop for this great drama to play out is unfolding before our eyes.

A truly regenerated Christian is not 'of this world'. He walks in separation from it for it is the devil's kingdom. His conversation (citizenship) is in heaven. He is not surprised when he sees the 'kings of the earth' joining together to make their final assault "against the LORD, and against his annointed [Christ]"; Ps. 2:2, as is now happening in an unparalleled fashion on the world's stage. It is exactly what he expects to see because he believes the whole counsel of the Word of God, including all the prophetic portions. He does not worry and fret when he sees their wicked schemes coming to pass because God's word foretells that they will, and that these things will be ultimately made to serve God's greater purpose. He rests in that even in the midst of these tremendous upheavals that must come and which even now have begun, looking beyond this temporal scene for the only possible hope, the Lord from heaven. With this thought highly regarded bible teacher of days past W.W. Fereday takes up the theme of...
The Blessed Hope
W. W. Fereday (1863-1959)

It is no part of the duty of the Christian to occupy himself with the immediate future. The Spirit of God would concentrate our attention upon a certain fixed point in the purposes of God, when everything will reach its climax. We refer to the great Day of the Lord, which will be ushered in by the public manifestation of the Lord Jesus from Heaven. Of that Day prophets and psalmists have spoken and sung in ages past. That Day will bring about a total reversal of the order of things which it will fill here. It will bring to an abrupt termination "Man's Day" — this period of human pride and self-will — in order that the will of God may prevail. When "the world kingdom of our Lord and His Christ" (Rev. 11:15) is established, righteousness, peace, and blessing will fill the earth. Until then the anguish must needs deepen day by day.

The Day of the Lord, however near it may be, will not open just yet. Many prophetic events (which will doubtless be crowded into a very short space of time) must be accomplished before its inauguration. But there is a preliminary event (inseparably connected with the "Day") which may take place at any hour — the Lord's descent into the air to call up to Himself His Heavenly elect. It is the divine intention to bring forth "the saints of the Heavenly places" in the same glory with Christ when He appears. He will come "to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that have believed, in that Day" (2 Thess. 1:10). In order that this may be, He will first gather up His own and fit them for the great display.

This is what the Apostle in Titus 2:13 calls "the Blessed Hope." The Church is to see the Lord as "the Bright Morning Star" (Rev. 22:16) before Israel and the world behold Him "as the Sun of righteousness" (Mal. 4:2). This will be the fulfilment of the Saviour's promise to His disciples on the eve of His departure: "I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am there ye may be also" (John 14:3). That there is no thought of death in this familiar passage is sufficiently proved by John 21:22-23.

Our feeble minds can scarcely comprehend what is told us concerning our Lord's return. He will descend, His mighty voice will be heard, sleeping saints will be raised, and living ones "changed in a moment" (1 Thess. 4:16-17; 1 Cor. 15:51-52). In the morning occupied with our usual toil; in the afternoon at home in the Father's house for ever. What an expectation!

The question may arise with some: "Will every saint be taken?" Unquestionably. It is "the Hope of righteousness" (Gal. 5:5). God has connected the Hope with the righteousness with which He has invested us in the risen Christ. He whom God has "justified" must needs be also "glorified" (Rom. 8:30). It would be a dishonour to the work of the Lord Jesus if one of His saints were omitted in the Day for which we wait. Even to the ill-behaved Corinthians the Apostle wrote: "We shall all be changed" (1 Cor. 15:51).

The expectation of Christ should mightily influence us during "the little while." The Spirit brings it before us in Scripture in connection with all the circumstances of daily life. It is an incentive to holiness. "Every man that hath this Hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure" (1 John 3:3). It is impossible to cherish the thought that we shall be conformed to His image presently without longing to be more like Him morally now. The Apostle in his prayer for the Thessalonians, in 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13, looked forward to the Lord's Coming as the consummation of a blameless and holy walk in them.

It is:

1. Comfort in Sorrow. Thus to the perplexed, and the bereaved, the Spirit, in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, presents the hope for their comfort and encouragement. The Old Testament believer looked for reunion with departed one in the realms of the dead (2 Sam. 12:23); the New Testament saint looks to meet in the air, in resurrection life, and glory, all those to whom he has said farewell in the faith of Christ.

2. Cheer in Persecution. The Hebrew believers had suffered much, both in property and person, for the Name of the Lord Jesus. The Apostle earnestly desired that their faith should not droop by reason of their afflictions Accordingly he says: "Yet a little while, and He that shall come, will come, and will not tarry" (Heb. 10:37). The loss would soon be over, and then the everlasting gain.

3. Support under Oppression. To those who were enduring tyranny, whose good service was neither appreciated nor rewarded by those who held them in bondage, James wrote: "Be patient therefore, brethren unto the Coming of the Lord . . the Coming of the Lord draweth nigh" (James 5:7-8). His eye sees all that comes upon His own during their pathway through the world, and He will adjust their every wrong at His return. He is a righteous Lord.

4. Encouragement in Service. Thus we read is 1Thessalonians 2:19-20: "What is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His Coming? For ye are our glory and joy." Does the tried heart of the worker sometimes feel overcharged by the unbelief and waywardness of those amongst whom he labours? Let him encourage his heart with the happy thought that the full fruit of all true service for Christ will be seen without fail when He returns.

Above all things, the Spirit of God would produce in our hearts longing to see the Saviour's face. To work for Him is good, and will receive its reward; to wait for Him is better, and the reward is correspondingly more wonderful, as Luke 12:35-38, 42-44 testifies. May our hearts be so completely detached from everything here that in response to His "Yea, I Come Quickly," we may be able joyfully to respond, "AMEN, come, Lord Jesus" (Rev. 22:20).

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