Perhaps in the coming year of 2017, Christians will see fulfilled that wonderful promise of the Blessed Hope.  The Apostle Paul encourages Titus, one of his Gentile converts who later entered the ministry in the early Church, with these words ... “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13 KJV).  Why did Titus need encouragement?  The Apostle had sent him to Corinth to deal with the problems in the churches there.  The Christians had brought into their church services some of the rituals and thinking that were found in their pagan worship.  There was turmoil within the spiritual family between the “haves” and the “have nots.”    The lifestyle of some of the Corinthian believers did not reflect that which honored God.  Though God had graciously presented the gospel to them through Paul and others, they seemed to lack instruction or the willingness to allow God’s Word to live in their lives.  Paul reminds them of the fact that God does not limit the wonderful offer of salvation in Christ to a few favorites of the human race, for with God all mankind is treated on an equal basis“there is none righteous, no not one” (Rom 3:10 NKJV).   But the wonderful news is that Jesus Christ is the Savior and anyone can come to Him by simple faith in His finished Work on the Cross.  Then the challenge for the new believer is to move forward in the spiritual life and Paul tells Titus … “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, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:11-14 NASB).  There is a purpose for you and I being here on this earth, the greatest of all purposes, that is, to represent Christ and to glorify Him in and through our lives.  When this earthly life ends there is a future beyond our dreams.  The Apostle John writes to present day Christians of a time that is yet to come … “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.  And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:2- 3 NASB). Here we see that “blessed hope mentioned.  Not hope as we use the word today, but as intended by the Apostle, that “blessed confident expectation!”  Just as surely as the Savior came the first time in a manger, He is coming again. Bringing with Him the soul and spirit of those who died in Christ, these will receive their resurrection body.  “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess 4:17 KJV). As we wait for that day when He returns, John challenges us to have the Truth of the “blessed hope” become that which motivates us to live as unto the Lord.  Therefore we have the instructions from Paul to…  “walk by means of the Spirit” (Gal 5:16 NASB).  “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Eph 4:32 NASB).                                         

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