The Blessed Hope
Scripture reading for December 9th: Titus 1-3
What the world needs is hope! Hope keeps us moving forward and expecting something good to happen in the near future. Hope works with faith and love and keeps us in balance spiritually. Without hope, we often despair and give up or give in to the temptations of this life. People who have no hope become depressed. Our God is known as the God of hope! (Romans 15:13)
Paul’s letter to Titus is a letter of hope and encouragement to a pastor who is his son in the faith. He entrusted the churches in Crete to his oversight and wrote to instruct him in church order and pastoral ministry. Some of the basic instruction concerned the qualifications necessary for church leadership in the elders and deacons that he would appoint. Character was of the highest concern and it was to be discerned by observation of relationships in the family and community. A person’s reputation comes from his daily deeds and attitude. We become quickly known for how we treat others, especially those close to us. (Titus 1:6-8)
One of the main qualifications was a firm grasp on the Gospel message and word of God. (Titus 1:9) A pastor’s job is to teach each age group in the church body how to respect others and serve them with godly character. If a person just claims to know God but behaves as if He does not exist, that person is unfit for service to God. In fact, they may be leading others astray and must be soundly rebuked! (Titus 1:13-15)
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:11-14
It is by grace that we are saved and empowered to live a godly life. That grace came to us in Jesus Christ, the Son of God! He redeemed us from sin and wickedness and cleansed us by His own blood. God’s gift of the Holy Spirit to live in us helps us have self-control. We can say “No” to sin and temptation. Through the Holy Spirit we can know we belong to God and are a part of His family. (Romans 8:15-16) What a God of hope and encouragement! He has given us a blessed hope–His soon appearing to finish the work that He began in us! This hope keeps us moving forward, eagerly working while we await His appearing!