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Does the blessed hope and glorious appearing of Titus 2.13 refer to both the Rapture and the Second Advent, or is the statement to be viewed as one event?

Many brethren believe that in Titus 2.13 we have two events in the terms, "blessed hope" and "appearing of the glory" (RV). Others interpret the phrases as referring to one event. We must comment on the fact that the rest of the verse speaks of "the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ". There are not two persons being described here but rather one person, our Lord Jesus Christ. Darby we believe translates correctly, and brings out the sense much more clearly: "awaiting the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ". What a strong testimony this is to the vital doctrine of the deity of our Lord Jesus. A similar statement of truth is found in 2 Peter 1.1. We mention this because as we have one person in view in the verse, so we have one event in view, we believe, in the words "that blessed hope and the glorious appearing".

Greek scholars tell us that there is but one article with the two words "hope" and "appearing". Thus they are clearly connected. Then they are separated by a conjunction which not infrequently is followed by a word or phrase explanatory of that which precedes it. In such cases, and this is one of them, it is equivalent to "namely". Acts 23.6 is a good example: "The hope and [namely the] resurrection of the dead". So in our verse we have one event and one person. The Rapture of course is the preliminary of this event, but in this verse we believe the "blessed hope" of the child of God is not the Rapture, but the appearing in glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. We believe in the two stages or phases of the Second Coming. Christ will come first to the air to catch up the Church (1 Thess 4.13-18) and then, after an interval of at least seven years, He will descend from heaven to the earth to restore Israel and set up His millennial reign (Rev 19.11-21). We are happy to see the second stage of the Lord's coming in Titus 2.13.

John J Stubbs

In what way are we to understand the expression in Romans 1.17, "from faith to faith"? Are there two incidences of faith, or what?

Romans 1.17 is possibly the key verse of the whole epistle. In the gospel, not only is the power of God manifested, "the gospel of Christ...is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Rom 1.16), but [the] righteousness of God is revealed. The absence of an article suggests a different kind of manifestation of God's righteousness from that given at Mt. Sinai.

The righteousness of God is twofold in Scripture:-

1) It may refer to God's own intrinsic character. This aspect is brought out in Romans 3.24-26 - "Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (mercy seat) through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus".

2) The term is also used of a righteousness which God has procured for sinful men. This aspect is presented in Romans 3.22: "the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe"; it is "the righteousness of God without the law (i.e. apart from the works of the law)" (Rom 3.21).

The Jews were "ignorant of God's righteousness" (Rom 10.3); this did not mean that they did not know that God was righteous but they were ignorant of that which is revealed in the gospel. Hence they sought to establish their own righteousness.

This righteousness of God, or justification, then is revealed in the gospel and is offered on the principle of faith (in contrast to the principle of works) to be received by faith wherever it is found; this is what is meant by the expression "from faith to faith".

Paul then quotes from the prophecy of Habakkuk: "as it is written, The just shall live by faith" (see Hab 2.4). This verse is quoted three times in the New Testament: here, then in Galatians 3.11, and also in Hebrews 10.38. It has been suggested that Romans 1.17 explains "the just", the reference in Galatians unfolds "shall live", whilst that in Hebrews expands upon "by faith".

In the context of Romans 1, Paul makes it clear that those who are justified (i.e. declared righteous) continue to live on the principle of faith - thus, "The just shall live by faith".

David E West


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