Perhaps my favorite verse in this letter is 2:13, “…while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
When I was a teenager, I spent time in Christian circles that emphasized the Second Coming of Christ. I certainly had the expectation that Jesus might return at any time. And that was good. I think in some Christian circles we have lost much of this emphasis on the hope of the Second Coming—and that is a great loss. Of course, this doctrine can be emphasized in the wrong way. One wrong way of thinking about it is to try to figure out the day and the time of Christ’s return. Even Jesus said he did not know the day or the time. Another wrong emphasis, I think, is the application of some segments of Scripture to the “end times” that perhaps had no such meaning for their first readers. A third problem comes when we focus on waiting for the Second Coming and don’t do anything else. Perhaps very few Christians are in danger of this. However, I grew up thinking that there were really only three aspects to the Christian life: getting saved, helping others to get saved, and then waiting for the Second Coming.
C. S. Lewis was one writer who helped me to see that there is so much more to the Christian life. I like what he has to say in Mere Christianity….
Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth “thrown in”: aim at earth and you will get neither. It seems a strange rule, but something like it can be seen at work in other matters. Health is a great blessing, but the moment you make health one of your main, direct objects you start becoming a crank and imagining there is something wrong with you. You are only likely to get health provided you want other things more—food, games, work, fun, open air. In the same way, we shall never save civilization as long as civilization is our main object. We must learn to want something else even more.