What Does Paul By "Our Blessed Hope"? (Titus 2:13)

Contributing Writer
What Does Paul By "Our Blessed Hope"? (Titus 2:13)

I love many things about my church’s service, but my favorite happens before the last song. Our pastor stands in front, with his arm extended over the congregation, and blesses us with Romans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace, that your lives would overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” I’m reminded each time that our God is a God of hope. Furthermore, He is the God of past, present, and future hope.

And that future hope is what Paul refers to passionately in his letter to Titus as “our blessed hope.”

What Is the Blessed Hope Paul Talks About?

What is the hope that Paul was writing about, and how does blessed hope take hope to an even higher level?

According to Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, hope is “whether we will ‘trust in, wait for, look for or desire something or someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future..” Both the Old and New Testaments spoke of hope in various ways, but most of the time, we are called to hope in God, which implies trusting in Him as well that He knows what we need and is all-sufficient and compassionate to provide it. Examples include Psalm 25:21, Psalm 40:1, Romans 5:5.

Who Is Paul Writing to When He Talks about the Blessed Hope?

We find this blessed hope discussion in the letter Paul wrote to Titus. Titus was one of Paul’s students, or disciples, who traveled with Paul on his missionary journeys and was especially involved in his work with the church in Corinth. Paul sent him to Crete to finish the work Paul had started.

Paul wrote, “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).

What Are the Defining Traits of the Blessed Hope?

As BibleStudyTools.com writer G. Connor Salter explains, the passage is clear: Paul told his readers to “place their trust not in whether they will be treated well in this life, but in the eternal promise of salvation. They place their hope not in things working out now, but on the day that Jesus will reveal himself to humanity.”

The glorious appearance of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ at the second coming is our blessed hope: our greatest joy, greatest desire, and greatest victory. As Christians, we spend our lives in the hope that God will show forth His glory “in the land of the living.” We pray for God to answer our prayers and to use us to be salt and light to a dying generation.

But because we know that Jesus has come a first time for salvation and is coming a second time to make all things just, right, and new, our hope is even more blessed and sacred.

In “Waiting for Our Blessed Hope,” Scotty Smith writes a prayer to Jesus that sums up the joy of the blessed hope:

“We’re not wrong to crave being with you, which the Apostle Paul called “better by far.” We’re not foolish to look for the Day when your glory will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea. We’re not naïve to expect the elimination of all evil, illness, and madness. We’re not silly to really believe wolves and lambs, calves and critters will frolic, lay down, and take naps together. All of these will happen because you are coming back.”

How Does the Blessed Hope Help Us?

In the same verses he writes about Blessed Hope, Paul challenges his listeners to live “self-controlled, upright and godly lives” because of the blessing already given in Jesus’ sacrifice for our salvation. We believe and act on what we’ve already “seen” of Jesus in the gospels. Then, if we can fix our eyes on His glorious return, that can change our attitude and actions in the present and prepare us to spend eternity with Him someday. None of us has seen what God allowed Paul or the Apostle John (who wrote the book of Revelation), but Paul was adamant that we must be moved now to live a life worthy of the One who saved us.

But the blessed hope helps us most when going through a painful trial. One of the most frequent commands in the Bible is to remember what God has done in all of history and our individual lives. When we suffer, we can meditate on the many times that God has shown us His love and mercy in the past. Then, looking forward and knowing that Jesus is coming back for us, we can hold on to this promise and know it is sure. When there is no way out of a situation, and it doesn’t seem like the Lord will take us home any time soon, we look to His glorious appearance with great anticipation. That kind of joy and strength confuses a world that does not know Him.

How Do We Hold Onto the Blessed Hope in Hard Times?

We hold on to the Blessed Hope as a fact, just like every promise God has already fulfilled. The three persons of the Trinity have no guile, so they cannot lie. Jesus has promised to return and take believers home with Him to a place without sickness, death, or evil—without problems of any kind. We hold on to that hope as tightly as we need to and keep reminding ourselves of it every day.

So, what do we do in the meantime?

We pray and ask the Lord to help us live in a manner that glorifies Him while we are still here. That can be an incredible witness to those around us who don’t believe. We can be the kind of person who “suffers well” or stays away from sin and temptation because our eyes are fixed on Jesus–what He is doing for us each day here and what we can expect when we see Him finally face to face. We live as if we believe He is returning today and ensure our hearts are always ready.

What Else Does the Bible Say About the Hope We Have in Jesus?

While we wait for our Blessed Hope, we can hold onto the words of hope in Jesus that we find elsewhere in the New Testament:

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)

“We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 1:3)

“That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4:10)

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.” (Hebrews 6:19-20)

Rejoice! Our glorious hope is coming!

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/kitzcorner

Mary Oelerich-Meyer is a Chicago-area freelance writer and copy editor who prayed for years for a way to write about and for the Lord. She spent 20 years writing for area healthcare organizations, interviewing doctors and clinical professionals and writing more than 1,500 articles in addition to marketing collateral materials. Important work, but not what she felt called to do. She is grateful for any opportunity to share the Lord in her writing and editing, believing that life is too short to write about anything else. Previously she served as Marketing Communications Director for a large healthcare system. She holds a B.A. in International Business and Marketing from Cornell College (the original Cornell!) When not researching or writing, she loves to spend time with her writer daughter, granddaughter, rescue doggie and husband (not always in that order).  

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