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New City Catechism 49.3

Question 49: Where is Christ now?

Answer: Christ rose bodily from the grave on the third day after his death and is seated at the right hand of the Father, ruling his kingdom and interceding for us, until he returns to judge and renew the whole world.

Without hope, the will to go on living in this world fades away, and people find themselves enduring a miserable, hopeless existence, or worse, taking their own lives. Hope is what makes ongoing life possible. That means a key question we must keep before us is where we place our hope.

Paul writes of a "blessed hope" to which our entire lives should be oriented in Titus 2:11-14:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 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.

Although the present age is one of great suffering, trial, and temptation, we can keep the fires of faith alive by dwelling on the blessed hope of Christ's appearing. One day, Jesus Christ will return again to us. That is not a metaphorical statement about his continuing influence. He will appear again to us visibly, bodily, physically. We will behold him with our eyes. As the angels said to the apostles, "This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11).

The return of Christ is central to the Christian faith. Christians disagree on the events that will precede and follow Christ's coming, but one truth all Christians must confess is that Christ indeed will come again to bring the final judgment, the separation of the righteous from the wicked, and the new creation, the eternal inheritance of his people. Without this blessed hope to anticipate, we have no reason to endure the sufferings of this present age. Without Christ, there is no meaning to life, no cause worth living for, no hope to carry us. But with Christ, we have all the hope we need. Come, Lord Jesus!

Suggested passage for personal or family reading: Titus 2. How do Paul's instructions about righteousness in the first part of this chapter (vv. 1-10) depend on the truths he confesses in the second part (vv. 11-14)? What is the connection between God's redeeming work in Christ and our own practice of godliness? Why does he call Christ's second coming the "blessed hope"?

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