“The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11–13).

Not everyone who embarks on the Christian journey comes from a perfect background. The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church: “Not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called” (1 Corinthians 1:26).

That was the situation Titus faced in Crete, where church members, far from the apex of morality, were hardly distinguishable from the rest of society. Paul noted, “A prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’ This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith” (Titus 1:12, 13).

But care had to be exercised in church discipline, as it still does today. Paul counselled his emissary Titus, whom he previously had sent to Corinth on a similar assignment, to build up and strengthen the believers on this island, who were surrounded by a barbaric culture. Paul’s introduction of him as “a true son in our common faith” (Titus 1:4) suggests that Titus had been converted under Paul’s ministry and bore the apostle’s personal stamp of approval.

Paul charged Titus with making sure bishops and elders were sober and diligent, married to one wife, and training their children well. Also, it was through Titus that Paul introduced a phrase to the Cretan believers— and to us—that has echoed through the millennia: the “blessed hope” of Jesus’ soon return.

In days of conflict, strife, and personal tragedy, as well as on the sunniest of days for us as individuals, the “blessed hope” of Christ’s return beckons us to set our hearts on Jesus’ teachings and our sights on eternity. What a blessed hope indeed!

Lord Jesus, abide in Me to live the kind of life You want for Your believing children. And keep my heart anchored in the “blessed hope,” which I pray comes soon. Amen!

For Further Study: Titus 1–3; John 15:5; Revelation 22:7

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