I debated whether or not to post a Bible Study today since a) its a holiday, b) we’re celebrating John’s birthday a day early and c) I still don’t feel well. But I decided it’s too soon after that summer hiatus I took to have another break, especially since we hope to go to Boston tomorrow for more birthday fun. However, I’ll only cover verse 13 today, and I didn’t study it as thoroughly as I would have if I hadn’t gotten sick.
Last week we studied the fact that grace enables Christians to live in holiness. You’ll recall that Paul wanted Titus to teach the churches to live in contrast to the self-indulgent culture of Crete, much as we need to live in contrast to the self-indulgent 21st Century culture. Let’s look at our passage again to understand how we can stay motivated to renounce worldliness.
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. ~Titus 2:11-14 (ESV)
As we turn to verse 13, we see that the grace of God trains us to live in holiness as we wait for Christ’s return. This waiting has an attitude of expectation, or “eager longing,” reminiscent of an engaged woman in the final weeks before the wedding. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown point out that this expectation serves as an antidote to the worldly passions that grace teaches us to renounce.
We await a blessed hope. Far more glorious than an earthly wedding day, our blessed hope lies in the triumphant return of the Lord Jesus Christ . Romans 8:24 reminds us that we have this hope as a result of faith (see also Galatians 5:5). Colossians 1:5 offers the insight that this hope comes from “the word of truth, the gospel.”
Grammatically, “hope” and “appearing” share the same article in the Greek. This connects Christian hope specifically to Christ’s appearing. The Believers Bible Commentary indicates that this appearing could refer either to the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) or to the time when He judges the world and sets up His Kingdom (Revelation 19:11-16), though it leans toward the first interpretation. So do I, actually.
Either way, our hope shouldn’t lie in temporal things like personal prosperity or the government, but we should place it completely in the glory of our coming God and Savior Jesus Christ.
Notice that last phrase. Paul unmistakably states here the deity of Jesus. The Greek construction of this phrase (again according to Jamieson, Fausset and Brown) can only be understood as declaring that Jesus Christ is both God and Savior. Paul has already called God our Savior in verse 10, thereby strengthening the doctrine of Christ’s deity.
Anticipation of Christ’s return draws our affection away from worldly passions and ungodliness, causing us to focus on our treasure in heaven. I pray that today’s Bible Study will help us marvel at our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, Who indeed is our treasure.