looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…. (Titus 2:13)
Your world can be turned upside down in a heartbeat. Just a few weeks ago, our little six-year old granddaughter, Mya, seemed a picture of health and bundle of energy. Then she was diagnosed with cancer. As I write these words, she is in the hospital fighting a deadly enemy. What we desperately sought was hope—and the doctors told us this could be successfully treated—but, ultimately our hope rests in the Great Physician, Jesus Christ. While she seems to be responding well to the treatments, we know the immediate future still contains uncertainties, yet Mya’s future—and ours—is in a hope that does not depend on earth’s circumstances, but God’s eternal assurances. Do you have such a hope? You can. Titus 2:11-14 tells us how. We see salvation is in three tenses—all bringing hope.
The first tense deals with our past: WE HAVE BEEN PURCHASED (v.11, 14a). I have been saved from the penalty of sin. That's justification. It is the work whereby we are placed in right standing with God by faith in Christ. There are three great Gospel words featured here: "grace" and "salvation" in verse eleven and "redeem" in verse fourteen. The word redemption means to be set free by payment of a price. When Paul wrote these words, men and women were sold in the marketplace like commodities. Spiritually, we were in the slave market, held fast in the shackles of sin. Christ paid the price to free us—and the price He paid was His own blood! He "gave Himself for us" and the great exchange took place—Christ took my sins and gave me His righteousness.
The second tense deals with our present: WE ARE BEING PURIFIED (v.12, 14). I am being saved from the power of sin. That’s sanctification. It is an on-going process. "Ungodliness" is all that is contrary to the nature of God. "Worldly lusts" are the perverse passions of our nature that are informed by the putrid philosophies of our culture. These must be denied. But the Christian life isn't just about what we avoid, but what we apply: "We should live soberly" in our inward disposition; "righteously" in our outward demonstration; "godly" in our upward devotion. We must be different to make a difference "in the present age" as we are in the world but not of it. A boat is of no use unless it's in the water, but get water in the boat and you're sunk! Paul says that Christ has purified us "for Himself." We belong to Him—“His own special people," who are to be "zealous for good works."
The third tense deals with our prospects: WE WILL BE PREPARED (v.13). I will be saved from the presence of sin. That’s glorification. I’m "looking for the blessed hope...." Some golden daybreak Jesus will come! The Savior whom we have heard of, we will we see with our eyes! John wrote, "everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure" (1 John 3:3). The hope is verse thirteen connects with holiness in verses twelve and fourteen. The most important aspect of prophecy is not to give us information about the future, but bring transformation anticipating it. It is a call to readiness (see 2 Peter 3:10-14).
Is your hope secure? Does it rest upon Jesus Christ? Remember,
Only one life;
‘Twill soon be past;
Only what’s done for Christ, will last.