James Nisbet Commentary - Titus 2:13 - 2:13

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James Nisbet Commentary - Titus 2:13 - 2:13

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:


‘Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.’


I fear that this great truth—the coming again of the Lord—is largely a neglected truth.

Since the Lord Jesus Christ departed into the heavens, and men are really touched by matters spiritual, you will find, if you study the history of the great majority of the professing Churches, that they have almost entirely, if not quite, ignored the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ as a Person to fulfil a great historical event.

I. The Second Advent as a matter of reason.—I ask you, as a matter of reason, is it likely that the Great High God, Who has, as we are told in the opening of the Epistle to the Hebrews, appointed His Son to be heir to all things, would allow His retirement from the earth as if defeated, and never see to it that His purpose was completely fulfilled? When the Lord Jesus Christ left this world, He passed up from the Mount of Olives and from the sight of a few humble followers, who claimed Him in their hearts as King. But the world at large ignored Him entirely, and Satan might well have been said to have gained a magnificent victory, if nothing further took place historically with regard to the Jesus of Nazareth. Consequently, we may expect, on the very ground of reason, that there must be a further return of Christ in Majesty and glory to claim the kingdoms of this world for Himself and His Father.

II. What saith the Scripture?—We must inquire what is revealed to us in the Scripture with regard to this historical fact, of which we are expecting the fulfilment. In what manner will the Lord Jesus Christ return? Our text speaks of it as ‘the glorious appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ.’ He is to come ‘in like manner’ as He went up. And the Lord Jesus Christ, our Blessed Saviour, who went up to heaven as Jesus, the Perfect Man, to claim our places there and prepare them for us, in the presence of God and the angels, is coming back to ‘receive the kingdom’ according to His own parable. He comes to be King, and His title is to be ‘the Lord Himself.’

III. Christ and the Church.—What will it be to Christ when He looks upon His Church, and says, ‘My beloved, My beloved!’ That is my Saviour’s joy, my Saviour’s reward for all His pains. ‘For the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God,’ henceforth waiting till His enemies are crushed, and His saints are ready to meet Him, and the cry goes up from earth as well as from heaven above: ‘My Lord, My God.’ Not only will it be a satisfaction to his own soul; He will see God satisfied, too. When He was upon earth, there was one thought in His mind. ‘I have glorified Thee upon the earth.… I came not to seek My own glory, but the glory of Him that sent Me.’ I can imagine (oh, so feebly) the wondrous feeling of my Lord and Master as He looks upon that perfected Bride—gathered in all ages from earth—how He turns back for a moment to His Father’s throne, and says, ‘Father, I have glorified Thee; I have glorified Thee!’

Rev. Prebendary Webb-Peploe.


‘Problems of physiology, psychology, sociology, have their interest; but behind them all lies the great fact that man is a moral being governed by conscience and duty. “Life is real, life is earnest, and the grave is not its goal.” Do you at times doubt it? Does society seem to move on with a cruel disregard for individuals, letting the weakest go to the wall, not caring how many are crushed and broken in the mad scramble after wealth? Remember the Second Advent. “Be patient until the coming of the Lord. The Judge is at the door.” You are not pawns upon a chessboard. You are a responsible agent. Responsible to whom? To Him Who has made all duty possible and even delightful by His grace and love—to Him Who for this end died and revived and lived again, that He might be the Lord of both the dead and of the living—to Him Who will soon come again, and Whose coming will be full of glory for His own children and full of hope for the blind Jew and the dark heathen world.’



Christianity draws its strength from the two Advents, or the two ‘appearings,’ as they are called in this passage—that of Tit_2:11, the appearing of the grace of God in the First Advent, and that of Tit_2:13, ‘the appearing’ of the glory of God in the Second Advent.

I. The Second Advent of Christ will be as real as the First Advent.—There will be a coming again in power and great glory, which will literally fulfil all the promises of a reigning Messiah, just as the First Coming in great humility fulfilled literally all the promises of a suffering Messiah. This is our hope. We cannot be the Christians God wants us to be unless we hold it fast, unless we are looking for this blessed hope. However busy with the work He has given us to do, we may still see that our loins are girded, our lamps burning, and we ourselves on the look-out for the Master. The fisherman’s wife, however busy with the care of home and children, casts many an eager look across the waters to see if her husband’s vessel is in sight.

II. We do not know when our Lord will come.—The date is not revealed to us. Indeed, by a divinely ordered and marvellous commingling of light and obscurity, the teaching of Scripture has brought about this phenomenal result—that each succeeding generation has been able to look upon our Lord’s return as imminent; so that to men taught in the Word and skilled to observe the signs of the times, the expectation of Christ’s return has been a reality and not a make-believe. The hope has not died away because the fulfilment has been so long delayed. The true believer steadily refuses to look forward to death. Death and dissolution may come—we, of course, admit it—but only if the Lord tarry. But there is no ‘if’ as to the Lord’s return. That is a certainty—it is part of the word which cannot be broken. So the Second Advent is a certainty, while death is only a possibility; and the true Christian rings out in joyous song:—

‘But, Lord,’tis for Thee, for Thy coming, we wait;

The sky, not the grave, is our goal.’

III. Now we are looking for this our blessed hope.—You know the power of a new interest, the constraining influence of one mastering thought. Christ is coming. Let this be the new interest in your life; let this be the mastering thought. No thought can be a mastering thought if it is only a speculation. Christ’s coming is not a speculation but a certainty. No thought can exercise a constraining influence unless the cold and bare reason is reinforced by a lively imagination and a warm affection. So knowledge of the law of retribution will not suffice to control us, but the thought of the return of our Lord Jesus as Bridegroom and Master and King will. This blessed hope will teach us what life really is.

Rev. F. S. Webster.


‘This upward look is a sure mark of the true Church, for if we abandon it we make void more than half the promises of God. Taking the Messianic prophecies as a whole, the Advent in power and glory is more prominent than the Advent in humiliation and suffering. The Jews were not wrong in looking for the earthly reign of their Messiah. It is mere playing with words to pretend that Gabriel’s message to the Virgin Mary—“He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the Throne of His father David; and He shall reign over the House of Israel for ever”—has been fulfilled. Christ has not yet received the Throne of His father David. True, indeed, He has, through His Resurrection and Ascension, received the first instalment of “the sure mercies of David,” and is crowned before the angels with glory and honour; but this is not all that the Prophets set forth in such glowing pictures. Not yet are “His enemies made His footstool”; not yet has the chosen nation greeted him with the cry, “Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord”; not yet have men begun to beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning-hooks beneath His sceptre. The disciples saw this clearly when they asked, on the day of the Ascension, “Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” It was too soon to give them the full revelation of the hidden mystery, afterwards granted to St. Paul, that before the kingdom should be given to Israel, a new kingdom, the hidden kingdom of the Holy Spirit, the Church of Christ, should be set up.



Why is the coming of Christ a ‘blessed Hope’ to the Christian?

I. Because he will be with Christ.—He promises this (Joh_14:3; Joh_17:24; see also 1Th_4:17 and 2Th_2:1). Here is the very climax of the Christian’s hope—‘our gathering together unto Him.’ Here is the very glory of the glory, the heaven of heavens!

II. And at Christ’s coming every true believer will be like Christ (see Php_3:20-21).—Here on earth it is the body that drags the soul down, but when the Master comes, the body of every saint will be made pure and dazzling, bright with immortal beauty. For He that sits on the throne will say, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ Now the believer has the victory over the power of sin, then he will be free from its presence.

III. For that blessed hope we look with patience and diligence.—The keynote of 1 Thessalonians is hope, and of 2 Thessalonians, patience. The pith of the Epistle is just this: ‘I do not say Christ is really here—only wait patiently for Him; that if He comes in your day He may find you doing the work He has given you to do.’

Rev. F. Harper.


‘The 19th of May, 1780, is memorable as the date of a strange phenomenon of darkness which overspread the state of Connecticut. Domestic fowls retired to roost; the song-birds of the woods were hushed; the people for the most part believed the end of all things to be at hand. Some members of the Legislative Council, which was in session, wished to adjourn. The chairman replied, “If the judgment-day be come, I would like the great Lord of us all to find me at my post, and in my duty; and therefore shall order lights to be brought in, and go on.” ’