May 23, 2019
Titus 2:11-15 (NLT)
For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.You must teach these things and encourage the believers to do them. You have the authority to correct them when necessary, so don’t let anyone disregard what you say.
I’ve heard the Bible described as the acrostic B.I.B.L.E. for Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. I don’t agree with that one because, if we take Titus as an example of the whole New Testament, the Bible is showing us how to prepare for Jesus to come back to earth, not for us to leave. Consider today’s text:
We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed (v.12-13).
A lot… and I mean a lot… of anxiety has been spent on when Jesus will return and what that will look like. But here Paul uses the word hope. That tells us that Jesus’ second coming is a good thing. Why? Because the return of Jesus means it’s all over: No more cancer or mental illness; no more #MeToo or school shootings; no more dictators or refugees; no more Twitter trolling and shaming; no more abuse or racism or addiction or sexism or discrimination or… you get the idea.
Yes, there is hope that when Jesus returns all this darkness will turn to light. But look carefully at how today’s text starts: For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people (v. 11).
Do you see it? The salvation that comes through Jesus Christ has been revealed and it will be revealed. That’s the tension we call the “already/not yet” because his kingdom is already here, but it has not yet been fully realized. The grace of God has been revealed by Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and sending of the Holy Spirit… and it will be revealed when he returns.
Jesus’ return is the only part of the story we’re still waiting for, just like Paul was when he wrote this letter to Titus. It’s why the New Testament calls us to live like the “not yet” is “right now.” Our waiting for that day is active by sharing the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ and resisting evil and injustice. It is living “in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God.” In other words, these are not the instructions for leaving earth, but the hope of the Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
Jesus, let your Holy Spirit show me were the “not yet” can be the “right now” and help me reveal the light of your hope into the dark places I see around me. Amen.
How do you look forward with this kind of hope while living in this world now?
For the awakening,