For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,…
I. THE FORCE AND FITNESS OF THE ARGUMENT DRAWN FROM THE HOPE OF A CHRISTIAN. The ground of our hope lies not in our merit, but in God's mercy; the reward for which we are encouraged to look is not of debt, but of grace. And supposing it a very small and inconsiderable thing, yet, upon all the principles of reason, it is encouragement to do what otherwise we are indifferently bound and obliged to do. But the abundant grace of our God in Christ Jesus hath invited us to expect an abundant reward; and whatever force there is in hope to move men to action, is all bent to push them on to well-doing, by a just view of that reward which God hath promised. If hope can stimulate men to vigour and vigilence in any case, it wants not something to look for in the course of well-doing and on a better foundation than can be attained respecting any comfort in life.
II. THE TIME WHEN THIS BLESSED REWARD SHALL BE CONFERRED. That is the great day when our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ shall appear. And if we consider the design and manner of this appearance we shall see abundant reason to live soberly, righteously, and godly in expectation of it.
1. The design of it is to judge the world in righteousness, to call every man to account for his conduct in life, and render to every one according to his works. Then the godly shall receive the glorious reward of eternal life with glorious advantages, as we shall see more particularly if we consider —
2. The manner of that appearance which is here expressed by a peculiar epithet, serving to distinguish it from all other appearances, particularly from His first appearance in our nature.
III. THE TEMPER AND TURN OF MIND FIT AND NECESSARY TO GIVE THESE ARGUMENTS THEIR PROPER INFLUENCE UPON US. Looking is in Scripture common style to express the principles and disposition of the mind with respect to things Divine and heavenly. And with regard to the blessed hope and glorious appearing here mentioned, it means —
1. A firm persuasion of the truth and reality of those things. No wonder if they are ungodly and slaves to worldly lusts who look not for a future reckoning.
2. Looking for the blessed reward signifies a lively hope of obtaining it, which, on that very account, is called the blessed hope.
3. Looking here denotes an earnest longing, an ardency of desire to obtain the blessed hope, and see the blessed day when Christ shall appear.
4. Looking for the blessed hope means a constant and habitual attention to this as the chief end. and object we ought to have in view.
Parallel VersesKJV: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,