There are several Bible passages that mention both the first appearing of Christ Jesus on this earth and his promised second coming, our Lord’s first and last advent, in the same context. One of those passages is Titus 2:11-14.
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all people. 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.”
Christ’s 1st Coming Saves Us – The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all people. God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, not to condemn the world, but to save the world, the whole world, all people. Our God comes to us in the person of his son Jesus, God himself appears to us, he appears with us, in order to save us. When Jesus raised the widow’s dead son back to life in the town of Nain, they all said, “God has come to help his people.” When Jesus goes to Sychar and preaches and heals there for two days, the townspeople called him the Savior of the world.
Now Paul says our great God and Savior Jesus Christ gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness. We are forgiven of all our sins, we are washed completely clean by his saving blood, and we are purified for God as a people who belong to him, who are his very own. Through the first coming of Jesus and his sacrificial death and his glorious resurrection, we are restored into a righteous relationship with God the Father forever. Christ’s coming brings to completion all the ancient promises that first gave birth to God’s people and ultimately brings his salvation to every part of the world.
Christ’s 2nd Coming Trains Us – While we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of Jesus. This waiting teaches us. It trains us to live a certain way in this present age. Notice how waiting for the glorious future and living in the not-always-so-glorious present are connected. It’s not that we should focus on his second coming so much that it doesn’t matter how we’re living right now. In the past, one of the criticisms of the Church was that we are too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good. Now, I’m afraid we could be rightly criticized for being too earthly minded to be of any heavenly good. Paul says here, the way we live on earth in this present age, while we wait, is shaped by the reality of what we’re waiting for.
If you’re babysitting for somebody at their house, the reality is that they are coming back. They may tell you they’re not coming back, but they are kidding. They will return to their home. And it’s a good idea to make sure you feed their kids, help put the toys away, get the children to bed on time, and clean up your own dirty dishes before they inevitably arrive. Your behavior in the present is trained by the reality of the future.
Jesus told stories like this all the time. You know the landowner is returning. While you wait for him, don’t just sit on the couch and scroll through Facebook. Put your gifts and abilities to work for the cause. The ten bridesmaids know the groom is going to show up. While you’re waiting, make sure your lights are shining.
The Advent Season is about both: knowing that Christ Jesus has come and he is coming again. Something happened that changed your life and redirected your destiny and altered all of history forever. And it will happen.