The Blessed Hope.

The classic passage on the "blessed hope" of Christians is Titus 2:11-15. Paul is instructing Titus as his apostolic delegate in Crete and Corinth. He trusts and depends on Titus to teach sound doctrine and the importance of adorning it with one's pattern of life.

Paul refers to two phases of future history in verse 13. The "blessed hope" is the rapture of believers to meet Christ in the air. The "glorious appearing" is when Christ comes again to establish His millennial kingdom.

The Blessed Hope

Our modern context understands these two words differently than how they are used in the Bible. Biblical hope is not a wish, but something one is certain will happen. Paul fully expected the Rapture to take place in his lifetime and lived accordingly.

"Blessed" means something that causes us to rejoice. Believers can experience joy no matter what takes place in their life. This is much deeper than happiness, which depends on circumstances.

There are more verses in the Bible about Jesus' second coming than his first. In John 13:33-14:3, Jesus promises that He is coming back. In the meantime, He provided the Holy Spirit to indwell every believer, so we can enjoy His presence and care (John 14:16-17, 26). In the Old Testament, God's people had to go to a certain place to experience God's presence. Today, the holy place is anywhere a believer is, because we carry God's presence within us.

1 Corinthians 15 presents three topics: the Gospel, the resurrection of the body, and what Paul calls a "mystery" in verse 51. Romans 16:25-26 helps us understand the definition of a biblical mystery. It is an aspect of God's plan that had not previously been known, but is now revealed and understood through the Holy Spirit.

The mystery Paul presents at the end of the chapter is the rapture of the church. The resurrection of the body was not a new doctrine because it was taught in the Old Testament. But Christians had not known that those who were alive at Christ's return would instantly meet Him in the air. There is no time element to "the twinkling of an eye" (1 Corinthians 15:52). We will be changed, transformed, and translated to God's presence as Enoch was (Hebrews 11:5).

A Comforting Hope

Paul was able to spend less than a month establishing the Thessalonian church. Yet they quickly became an example to many churches in their region and beyond (1 Thessalonians 1:7-8). Even so, Paul still needed to clarify some doctrine he was unable to teach them in his brief time, including the future of believers who had died and those who remained on earth. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, he explains that both groups will be raptured when Christ returns. This reality gives comfort when facing the death of a believer.

A Purifying Hope

1 John 3:1-3 speaks of how a believer's life looks in light of Christ's imminent return. Our hope motivates a changed and purified lifestyle.

1 John 2:28-29 lays out two options for the believer's response to Christ's return. We will either be confident or ashamed. If we want to be confident before our Lord, we must obey the instructions to "abide in Him" and "practice righteousness."

Application Points

  • Are you ready to meet Jesus Christ? Do you know Him as Savior and Lord? Believer, if Jesus came today, would you be ashamed at His coming? Are you in the habit of going, saying, or doing anything you would not want to be when Jesus returns? He will come without warning; you will not have time to get right with God before meeting Him. Make sure you are ready now!

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Psalm 1:1-3 – Godly living produces rejoicing.
  • 1 Corinthians 6:19, Romans 8:9, 14-16 – The indwelling Holy Spirit.
  • Ephesians 3:4-10 – New Testament mystery of salvation for the Gentiles.
  • Job 19:25-27, Daniel 12:2 – Old Testament hope for the resurrection of the body.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:8 – Comfort for a believer.
A Hymn to Encourage: "Blessed Assurance"

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels, descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.