Quick Links Quick Links

The Blessed Hope

by J. Edward Boyd

100 Years Ago

Reprint from the June, 1919, Word and Work Magazine

That Christians may be encouraged to “stand fast in the Lord” and inspired to “live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world,”—a world wherein evil and temptations abound—it is needful that they be ever “looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13, R. V., marginal reading). For where there is no hope there will be no effort. If the hunter has no hope—no expectation (for hope implies expectation as well as desire) of opportunities for killing game, he will scarcely trudge across fields and through woods with a gun on his shoulder; if the farmer has no hope of reaping a harvest by reason of his labor, he will not likely follow the plow diligently hour after hour, and day after day. Thus, in the ordinary affairs of life this principle plays an essential part; and to the Christian it is “as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast and entering into that which is within the veil,” keeping us safe and steady amid the storms and tempests of life’s surging sea. Let us then be careful not to lose sight, as so many have done, of our blessed hope.

And what is this hope? The world has its hopes, arousing to ceaseless activity and marvelous manifestations of human energy; and now these hopes of world peace and world betterment seem to center in the proposed league of nations. But the Christian’s hope is far different. Let him not give up his “living hope” for these dead, worthless expectations of men! The passage of scripture before us, (Titus 2:13) clearly indicates that it is the second coming—the glorious appearing—of our Savior Jesus Christ for which he is to be hopefully looking. This is the event for which he expectantly waits; and that his Lord’s return should be his heart’s fervent desire.

Hoping for, waiting for, looking for—these are terms which should correctly describe our attitude toward the return of Jesus. But how often are the hearts of Christians troubled, dismayed, filled with dread instead of hope, at the thought of the Lord’s return! This ought not so to be. For that which is a hope is not to be dreaded; and the assurance that He is coming again was given for the express purpose of cheering and comforting His people in the midst of trials and discouragements. There must be something wrong, then, if it has the opposite effect; either a wrong attitude of the heart or an erroneous conception of Jesus and His coming.

Frequently, I am persuaded we have dreaded His coming because we have failed to know Him. We have thought of Him too much as the Judge, hard and exacting and severe; and too little as the Friend—our friend, tender ‘and compassionate, full and running over of mercy and grace. Oh, that we could only know Him as the apostles knew Him; then could we love Him and look for Him as they loved and looked. And how they did love Him, even before they realized that He would make that supreme sacrifice for them—and for us. Compelled by nothing else than love, they left all to be with Him; and with Him they steadfastly remained for more than three years—years full of toil, hardships, and danger. And when He had been laid away in the tomb, what unspeakable grief was theirs! But this soon gave way to joyful wonder when He Himself stood once more in the midst of them. And when, early one morning, from their boat they saw Him on the shore, one of them—yes, it was Simon Peter, he who had most reason to fear a stern rebuke—sprang into the water the more quickly to be at Jesus’ side. We are not surprised, then, that when, as they were gazing after their ascended Lord, the messengers in white told them that this Jesus would come again, ‘’they returned to Jerusalem with great joy”

For the return of Jesus meant much to them. Then the dead in Christ are raised; this corruptible puts on incorruption, and this mortal puts on immortality; the body of humiliation is fashioned anew, being conformed to the body of His glory; the crown of righteousness is given to “all them that have loved His appearing;” to each is given “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away;” but, exceedingly precious promises though these are, that which seems to have been most ardently desired, the prospect most pleasing of all, was to be with Christ, ever to be with the Lord, to experience again that sweet, tender, intimate companionship which had for a time been broken. For how delightful is the mere association of a friend dearly beloved—how far one will go, what sacrifice he will make, just to enjoy that—even of an earthly friend, with all his imperfections ; and how unspeakably delightful will it surely be for those who have responded to the love of the faultless friend to rest in His presence. Such was the confident expectation of Paul and the disciples of his day; and it should surely be ours.

The world indeed may well tremble at the thought of His appearing; for to those “who know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus,” He comes in vengeance sure and terrible. Likewise the merely nominal Christian, he whose name is on a church book but whose life is not hid with Christ in God; who only professes to be a follower of Jesus but does not confess Him as Lord; who finds no real pleasure in Him, but loves rather this present world, seeking to please self, minding earthly things—such a one will find no comfort here. But to those who are truly His, who put their trust in Him, who recognize Him as their Lord, Ruler, Master, and Teacher, and are seeking to be well-pleasing unto Him, His coming is an event of great joy. They have nothing to fear; for is He not the very same person who loved them and gave His life for them? The very same, and He loves us still with the same unquenchable devotion. Such is the blessed hope; and may we who have “this hope set on Him purify ourselves, even as He is pure;” and may we “set our hope perfectly on the grace that is to be brought unto us at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 John 3:3; 1Peter 1:13).

 

  1. Edward Boyd was a long time minister of the Church of Christ and taught Bible at Southeastern Christian College in Winchester, KY for many years.

 




Leave a Reply

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 corinthians 1:3-4