Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:13—NIV)

In every hymnbook, whether for lack of interest or for lack of available material, there is inevitably a limited number of hymns from which to chose when focusing on two primary topics. The first topic is the resurrection of Christ and His saints for use at the communion service. The second is akin to this and it is what occupies us here.

The anticipation of the Lord’s imminent return for His church and His setting right of all things is a refining doctrine for the saints as John teaches in 1 John 3:2-3, "…but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is, and everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure." and Peter teaches in 2 Peter 3:11-12, "Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God…." We would do well to be in constant mindfulness of the brevity of our life and the reality of soon being in the presence of our wonderful Savior!

Titus 2:11-14 is one of the best texts to illustrate the mission statement of a church. There are three defining purposes for every local body of Christ. The church mission is one of living, looking and loving. The "living" begins with the grace of God (verse 11) transforming lives from living like the world to living soberly, righteously, and godly while applying our faith to the needs of the present age (verse 12). The "looking" is an eager anticipation of the return of our Lord (verse 13). The "loving" is the description of a people reserved for God showing that redeeming faith produces service in His Name (verse 14). The mission of the saints in a local church is inward, upward and outward, so to speak.

Our eager anticipation is described by Paul as a blessed hope. Biblical hope is one of certainty. It is assured by the promise of the angels at the Lord’s ascension.. 1 Thessalonians 4 enlivens the believer’s imagination while contemplating what it will be like to see Him as He is. The book of Revelation speaks to the future events of the Lord’s return to the earth to rule in truth and justice with His church saints. This is indeed a fine anticipation for believers in their struggle in the "here and now" longing for the day when He will make all things right. "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done" flows recurrently through our prayers.

This blessed hope is aptly described here as the "appearing of the glory" of our Savior. The general description of Christ in the Gospels is during the period of His humbling with His glory veiled. After His ascension we find His appearance described in Revelation 1:13-16 with words more fitting to His present state of glory. It is this glory that the church saints long to see. It is this glory that the saints adore. It is this glory that the church must celebrate, anticipate, and illustrate to a lost world. How must your life change in order to fulfill this important part of your mission as a believer?

Live obediently, looking for His return as you love His work to which He is daily calling you.