“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:12,13).
The annual remembrance at Christmastime of the first coming of Christ into the world ought naturally to lead to anticipation of His second coming. To the unbeliever, that coming will entail a fiery time of judgment; but to the Christian, the return of Christ is “that blessed hope.”
This promise does not promote Christian indolence, as some have charged. It encourages us, rather, to “live soberly, righteously, and godly.” As John says: “Abide in Him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming” (I John 2:28). Jesus warned: “Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares” (Luke 21:34). How distressing would be the shame of a Christian to be caught in some such situation when his Lord returns!
The hope of His imminent coming is also a great incentive to evangelism and missions. In Paul’s last message immediately after his long description of the last days he says: “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom; Preach the word. . . . Do the work of an evangelist” (II Timothy 4:1,2,5). Jude, also in the context of the imminent return of Christ, urges us: “And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire” (Jude 22,23). The blessed hope is, in fact, a quickening incentive in the Christian life. “And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure” (I John 3:3). HMM