Celebrating 80 Years Pt.6 The Blessed Hope of the Church
Celebrating 80 Years of Briercrest
Thanks for checking in each month to this six part series of devotional excerpts from Briercrest founding President Dr. Henry Hildebrand's book "Our Gracious God and Loving Heavenly Father: Book 4". If you would like a free copy of this book please contact our Alumni Engagement Coordinator: email@example.com.
Read: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
“Looking for that blessed hope…” Titus 2:13, KJV
Our Lord came to this world to save sinners. By means of His death, He delivered us from the penalty of death, the wages of sin (Romans 6:23). By means of His resurrection, He abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel (2 Timothy 2:10). By it we have been begotten unto a living hope that does not fade away but will be consummated in our resurrection and inheritance in glory (1 Peter 1:3-7).
The New Testament apostles speak of this hope in different ways, but all maintain that it will be fulfilled at the Second Coming of Christ, the great hope of all believers. Paul speaks of this as “that blessed hope” and as the “hope of glory” (Titus 2:13; Colossians 1:27). Peter speaks of “a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
God spoke of the coming flood, and it came (Genesis 6-9). He spoke also of the Saviour’s coming to suffer, and He came. The prophets speak of the Saviour’s future coming in glory. The New Testament adds many passages concerning the Lord’s Second Coming. As He fulfilled the promise of His first coming, so He will fulfill the promise of His Second Coming (1 Peter 1:10-11).
The Apostle Paul summarizes our Lord’s first coming and with it he predicts the Lord’s second coming: “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:27-28). We do not know the day or the hour of His coming (Matthew 24:36).
Our Saviour loved us enough to die for us, to purchase the church with His own precious blood. He redeemed the church to be His own bride. He will not now forget His bride. He is planning and preparing heaven as a special place for her. And while we shall be thrilled with the beauty of His work, we shall be filled with ecstasy when we behold Him, our bridegroom. We shall be forever with the Lord, beholding the King in His beauty.
William Montague Dyke was blinded by an accident at the age of ten, but his brilliant intellect was his universal honour. His outstanding achievements made him a successful suitor for the hand of England’s most beautiful girl, Miss Cave.
The mystical hour had come. Before the wedding, he submitted to treatment that recovered his sight. Dyke had taken his place, led by the groomsman. The bride attended by her father, Admiral Cave, was approaching the altar. The expert physician cut the bandages and the first sight for William was the sight of his lovely bride approaching toward him. As his eyes looked upon her, the bride realized that these were the windows of his soul and quietly said, “At last.” To this he replied, “Yes, at last,” as they bowed their heads.
It is the bride of Christ that sees through a glass dimly, but then she shall behold Him face to face. Carrie Breck gave poetic expression to this moment in this lovely hymn:
Face to face with Christ, my Saviour,
Face to face what will it be?
When with rapture I behold Him
Jesus Christ who died for me.
Our Lord emphasizes the truth about His coming for the church, to take her unto Himself, in His high priestly prayer of John 17: “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world” (John 17:24). How reassuring! We shall be forever with our wonderful Lord. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. Come!