In reading my devotions today, I came across a passage that stirred my heart so I thought it may do the same for yours, my dear friend and pilgrim.
In Titus 2:1-10, Paul issues a series of ethical commands for how Christians are to live and what kind of people they should strive to be in Christ. After explaining how Christians are to live in 2:1-10, Paul then explains why in Titus 2:11-14.
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” Titus 2:11-13
Notice this simple, yet profound truth: what a Christian does today is grounded in what Christ did and what Christ will do. Our present life is a response to the grace of Christ that appeared in the past and the glory of Christ that appear in the future.
The apostle, in this short paragraph of only four verses (11–14) brings together the two termini of the Christian era, that is, the first coming of Christ which inaugurated it and the second coming of Christ which will terminate it. He bids us look back to the one and on to the other. For we live ‘in between times’, suspended rather uncomfortably between the ‘already’ and the ‘not yet’ . . .
The best way to live now, in this present age, is to learn to do spiritually what is impossible physically, namely to look in opposite directions at the same time. We need both to look back and remember the epiphany of grace (whose purpose was to redeem us from all evil and to purify for God a people of his own), and also to look forward and anticipate the epiphany of glory (whose purpose will be to perfect at his second coming the salvation he began at his first).
This deliberate orientation of ourselves, this looking back and looking forward, this determination to live in the light of Christ’s two comings, to live today in the light of yesterday and tomorrow—this should be an essential part of our daily discipline. We need to say to ourselves regularly the great acclamation, ‘Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.’ For then our present duties in the home will be inspired by the past and future epiphanies of Christ.
Canon Hay Aitken suggested that the two comings of Christ are like ‘two windows … in the School of Grace’. Through the western window a solemn light streams from Mt. Calvary. Through the eastern window shines the light of sunrising, the herald of a brighter day. ‘Thus the School of Grace is well lighted; but we cannot afford to do without the light from either West or East.’
Stott, John. The Message of 1 Timothy and Titus (The Bible Speaks Today Series) . InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.
The Christian’s present life must be motivated, guided, ruled, and fueled by focusing on both the grace of Christ’s past cross and the glory of his future crown. If it’s not, we’ve lost our track.
As Foreigner once sang:
Ooh, double vision, I need my double vision
Ooh, It takes me out of my head, takin’ me out of my head
Ooh, I get my double vision
Ooh, seeing double double, double vision
Ooh, oh my double vision
Ooh, double vision
Yeah-ah, I get double vision, ooh . . .