Dear Christian, are you always looking unto Jesus? Living a life of sincere faith means that your eyes are constantly fixed on Christ. Looking to the Lord is an absolute necessity for a Christian to live triumphantly for the Lord’s glory. Let us consider two specific biblical exhortations to all Christians concerning keeping our eyes on Christ.
Run Your Race with Christ in View
The Christian life is a race in which God’s child is focused on Christ from the beginning to the end. Christians are exhorted to “run with patience the race that is set before us” by “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
The Greek word for “looking” (aphoráō) literally means looking away from one thing to some other thing in a steadfast or intent manner. It has been used to denote the fixing of the mind upon something. It expresses the mental posture that all Christians should maintain in relation to Jesus, as they run their Christian race. It should be a holy habit of our souls to keep the Lord Jesus in our view.
Looking at Jesus at the beginning of the race and then totally keeping Him out of view, is not the right kind of faith that Scripture teaches us. We should never lose focus of Christ in our Christian race. The reality is, some of the people who started the race with us may drop out of the race altogether while some others may be distracted and refuse to keep up, thus leaving us disappointed and troubled. But we must not let our minds be affected by their quitting. We must look away and fix our thoughts upon Christ. Even if all around us are a constant encouragement to us in our Christian race, it could well be our own lethargy and lust that hinder our race. Only when our minds are steadfastly fixed on Christ can we then overcome all distractions and obstacles, and complete our Christian race.
We look away from all else to Jesus only, for He is “the author and finisher of our faith”. The Greek word for “author” was translated earlier as “captain” in chapter 2, verse 10. There it was said of Christ, “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” Christ has set the path and He calls us to follow Him. It is Him, not the crowd, that we follow. The course of our race is shown by Him. He leads and we follow. His is our Guide, Strength and Motivation in our Christian race.
Jesus, the author of our faith, has entered the heavenly sanctuary as our forerunner (6:19–20) and has opened “a new and living way” for us that leads to this sanctuary (10:20). He is the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega (Rev. 1:17; 21:6; 22:13). He is our perfect Saviour and Captain who is able to perfect all who have placed their trust in Him.
Ready Yourself in View of Christ’s Return
Titus 2:13 depicts Christians as, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” As we live on earth in this present age, we anticipate our “blessed hope”, which is “the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”.
The Christian’s hope of Christ’s return is called “blessed”. The word “blessed” denotes all the blessings of His divine presence (cf. 1 Tim. 1:11; 6:15). What a blessing it is to have such a hope! Eternal blessings await Christians at His coming. When He comes, we shall be eternally delivered from all the temptations and trials of this world, and shall enter into eternal sinless perfection, joy, bliss, rewards and glory. We live every day with that sure hope. So we long for His return. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:8, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
There has been some debate as to whether “that blessed hope” and “the glorious appearing” of Christ are two different events, namely Rapture (cf. 1 Thess. 4:6-17) and His return to this earth at the end of the seven-year Tribulation (cf. Rev. 19:11- 21). But there is little in this verse’s context to suggest that Paul was distinguishing those future events in connection with Christ’s return. Paul was simply saying that we are looking for the blessed hope, which is the appearing of the Lord. Although we understand those events of Rapture and His subsequent glorious return to rule the world for a thousand years (cf. Rev. 20:1-10; Isa. 2:1-4, 11; Ezek. 37; Dan. 2:44-45; 7:13- 14; Zech. 14) as distinct, Paul is here referring to the return of Christ as a whole, and not its various stages. The blessed hope is a fixed historical reality which we long for.