As instability increases in the Middle East and the region
rushes towards the horrible, prophesied war of Psalm, 83, believers
in the Lord Jesus Christ should be looking upward with ever greater
expectancy for the "Blessed Hope" promised in Scripture.
Quoting from Titus 2:13 in the New Testament we read that
we are to be, "Looking for the blessed hope and glorious
appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ."
A companion verse found in I Peter 1:13 reveals that the "blessed
hope" spoken of in Titus is in fact a holy promise of a
particular act of grace that is to be brought to the Church on
the day of Christ's appearing.
Quoting we read, "Therefore gird up the loins of your
mind, be sober, and rest your "hope" fully upon the
grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus
The word "grace" in this passage refers to an act
of favor or a gift. It is something which is given without having
been earned by the recipient. This is in contrast to the earned
rewards promised in the Scriptures to believers who have faithfully
labored in the work of the Lord.
The pertinent question which needs to be answered in this
study is, "What exactly is the blessed hope of grace which
is to be bestowed when Jesus Christ appears to His Church?"
To those who have already come to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness
of their sins and have been born again by the Holy Spirit, the
answer to this question should be of profound interest. According
to such Scriptures as the ones found in Romans 3:21-25, the initial
act of God's saving grace takes place at the precise moment a
person trusts in His Son, Jesus. Immediately a new believer becomes
justified and righteous before God.
Quoting from Romans we read, "But now the righteousness
of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the
Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God which is
through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe.
For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short
of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through
the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, who God set forth to
be a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate
His righteousness, because in His forbearance God has passed
over the sins that were previously committed."
What has been disclosed thus far in the Scriptures is that
there is to be a first and second instance when God will demonstrate
His saving grace (unmerited favor) towards His Church. The genesis
of eternal life commences the moment a believer is born again
by an act of grace, while the completion, though indivisibly
connected to the initial moment of salvation, will be experienced
by a second act of grace when Christ appears to them. It is this
later portion of God's saving grace for the Church that the Lord
has designated with the stirring term , "the blessed hope."
As we reflect upon the divine words of Scripture that reveal
the glorious truths about the Rapture, we must keep in mind the
question of foremost importance which is, "What act of grace
takes place at the appearing of Christ to His Church - what is
the blessed hope?"
As the Scriptures have revealed, the initial portion of God's
saving grace through Jesus Christ is demonstrated by the forgiveness
of sins and the rebirth of the spirit of the believer (see Jn.
3:1-8). A believer in Christ literally becomes a new creation
at that moment.
Quoting from II Corinthians 5:17 we read, "Therefore,
if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have
passed away; behold, all things have become new." At this
point a Christian is a diamond in the rough.
As we will show from Scripture, "the blessed hope"
of every believer will be realized during the concluding portion
of God's saving grace when at Christ's appearing He will miraculously
transform their corruptible, mortal bodies into immortal, celestial
beings like unto Himself. This blessed hope will be the fruition
of His initial act of grace.
This fact wholly refutes erroneous teachings that Christians
must purify themselves in order to be counted worthy of the Rapture.
There are those who maintain that the Church must go through
a part of, or even all of the 7 year Tribulation Period which
immediately precedes the physical return of Jesus Christ to the
earth "when every eye shall see Him" (Dan. 9:27 &
The reason most often presented to defend this teaching is
the heresy that Jesus' forgiveness for His born again believers
is limited and that the Church will need to be purified of its
sins. This they insist must be accomplished by the horrors of
the tribulation under the Anti-Christ. Only then, they believe,
will the Church truly be worthy to be taken to Heaven by Christ.
The Rapture is part and parcel of the Lord's grace. It is
an act of unmerited favor. No conditions are presented for any
believer to merit physical redemption.
The Scriptures are the only authority on this matter of worthiness.
In Romans 7:15-25 the Apostle Paul expounded on his dilemma
of having a duel nature since his new birth in Christ. In verses
24-25 he sums up his (and our) situation and gives praise to
the Lord for the deliverance from his wrestling mind (which is
intertwined with the spirit according to Eph. 4:23) and his unredeemed
flesh, "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from
this body of death? I thank God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with
the flesh the law of sin."
Paul looked only to Christ for the deliverance of his body
from death. Paul was looking forward to the day of Christ's appearing
to His Church when whether alive or dead the apostle's body would
be redeemed from the corruption of sin.
Speaking of this blessed hope, Paul wrote in I Corinthians
15:49-53, "And as we have borne the image of the man of
dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. Now this
I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom
of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell
you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed
- In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible,
and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption,
and this mortal must put on immortality."
Paul would have been appalled by those who now teach that
corruptible flesh must somehow earn merit in order to qualify
for the Rapture of Grace.
In Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians he addressed a
number of points concerning the greatly anticipated moment of
God's concluding act of grace for the Church. Central to the
revelations he shared about the Rapture is the placement in time
for the resurrection of dead believers. Paul assured them that
the dead in Christ would not be resurrected later than when living
believers received their glorified bodies. No limitations are
given concerning the resurrection and glorification of the saints
as far as God requiring some further purification or atonement
for sins. If this were so then every believer's body waiting
in death is at risk of remaining in the grave forever. Thank
God for His grace.
Quoting verses 13-17 of I Thessalonians 4 we read, "but
I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those
who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so
God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord that we who
are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no
means precede those who are asleep.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.
And the dead in Christ will rise first.
Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together
with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus
we shall always be with the Lord."
Paul then concluded in verse 18 by saying of this blessed
hope, "Therefore comfort one another with these words."
We pray that you truly have found comfort this day in the
promise of Christ's soon appearing for His Church to glorify
every believer whether struggling or victorious, living or dead
and to take them home to Heaven with Him where they belong.
Quoting verses 18-30 of Romans 8 the Apostle Paul sums up
that which we have attempted to share in this message, (verses
25-30) "but if we hope for what we do not see, then we eagerly
wait for it with perseverance.
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses, For we do not
know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself
makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit
is, because he makes intercession for us with groanings which
cannot be uttered.
Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit
is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to
the will of God.
And we know that all things work together for good to those
who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to
the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many
Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He
called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these
He also glorified.
(Verses 18-24) For I consider that the sufferings of this present
time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall
be revealed in us.
For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for
the revealing of the sons of God.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly,
but because of Him who subjected it in hope;
Because the creation itself also will be delivered from the
bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children
For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with
birth pangs together until now.
And not only they, but we also who have the firstfruits of
the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly
waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
For we were saved in this hope.."
If you have received the Living Lord Jesus Christ as your
Savior and have believed that your sins have been forgiven by
His blood that He shed on the cross almost 2,000 years ago, then
you are eternally saved and your body will be redeemed by His
grace in the very near future. Eagerly wait with perseverance
for this adoption. This is the "Blessed Hope."
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