[Editor’s note: The purpose of this abbreviated article is not to comment on the specific timing of events related to the Lord’s second coming, but rather to draw out of our hearts praise for the One who is our hope, and remind us that “everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself” (1 John 3:3).]
“Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
The blessed hope of Jesus’ coming again gives us victory in this life and a promise of resurrection and immortality in the life to come. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:19 “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” If this life is all there is, the Christian faith is like a bridge over a vast canyon which stops in the middle and leads nowhere. But the Scriptures present to us an altogether different promise.
In the holy word of God, there is a blessed hope for us. I think of three reasons why the apostle Paul could call this hope “blessed.”
1. In the coming of our Lord, in the glorious appearing of our Savior, there is the final end and the forever destruction of sin. The blessed hope in our Lord is the delivery of the whole creation from the bondage of sin (Romans 8:18-25). Some day, Jesus is coming again, and we shall live in a kingdom of righteousness.
2. When Jesus comes, He brings with Him the abolition of death. As 1 Corinthians 15:26 says, “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” Jesus will come to raise us from the dead—to speak to the grave—and they in the grave shall hear His voice and rise to the glory of His marvelous presence (1 Thessalonians 4:16–18).
3. It is called “the blessed hope” because when He comes, it will be the Lord God Himself that we shall see (Revelation 1:5–8). When Jesus was here on this earth, human flesh covered Him, concealing His glory and His deity (Philippians 2:5–8). But there is coming a day when we shall see Him in all of His deity, in all of His manifest glory.
Small wonder that Paul calls it “the blessed hope”! It encompasses our victory over sin and death and the grave, and our resurrection to a new life in Him. That’s God’s invitation to us—to be sons and daughters in His kingdom, to be like Him, to live with Him, and to be caught up to Heaven with Him.
—Dr. W.A. Criswell, condensed