Be alert. Be sober. Be ready. In these, we must be informed. For the great and terrible Day of the Lord is coming soon. What kind of people does God intend for us to be as we expectantly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ?
First, we are people of hope. There is a glorious future promised to us by God in His excellent Word. Hope is about things unseen. For instance, those who have died before us are included in that glorious future if they died “in Christ.” Therefore, although we miss them dearly, we do not grieve for them as ones without hope.
Second, Jesus died and rose. Here is the core of the Gospel we preach. It is the firm foundation of our faith. Knowing Jesus is the first fruit of the resurrection we believe we are partakers with Him in this new life (Rom 6:4). Our Christian faith includes the hope of the resurrection (1 Cor 15). On that day God will raise us from the dead, in a bodily resurrection to be conjoined with our souls that He will bring at His coming (Jn 5:28–29; 1 Thess 4:13–5:11).
Third, we are people of faith and hope preparing for His glorious appearing, knowing that our lives in this world are but a vapor (Jas 4:14), we redeem the time by serving our Lord Jesus in the Spirit of Christ. We perform the good works prepared beforehand by God for us to walk in (Eph 2:10). The love of Christ controls us in this matter of service (2 Cor 5:14).
Fourth, the prospect of giving an account of all we did, to Him who called us, means we need to be people of the day…not of the night. Therefore, we spur one another on to love and good works (Heb 10:24). In this, love for God and others is always our heart motive (1 Cor 13). When things are worked, we see the manifestation of faith. It is impossible to please God without faith (Heb 11:6), which is why He gives it to His chosen people as a gift (Eph 2:8–9).
Fifth, believing in the bodily resurrection of the dead and the second coming of Jesus Christ, hope abounds for the dead in Christ who will be raised to life to meet Jesus Messiah in the air as He descends from heaven to judge the living and the dead (Acts 10:42; 2 Tim 4:1; 1 Pet 4:5). Those who are alive and remain, having endured great tribulation, will also be caught up to be forever together with the King of glory.
Christian, live your life today with a view to the glory to be revealed to us at His second advent (Rom 8:18). We will see Him as He is; and we will not be disappointed, for we shall be like Him. The promises of God’s Word will be fulfilled in the new creation. The token of that new and everlasting reality is the indwelling Holy Spirit in our hearts, today (Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9, 11). The kingdom of God is now in the Holy Spirit for those who have been given the Holy Spirit as a gift of God’s grace (Rom 14:17).
God has not destined us for wrath — now displayed in part, but fully unleashed upon His enemies at His coming (Rev 19:11–21). Waves of judgment will be poured out upon the inhabitants of the earth (Rev 6–18), as a preemptive series of woeful events. Then, the end shall come. The One who wages war, the King of kings and Lord of lords, will judge the earth with perfect justice (Gen 18:25; Jer 20:11; 2 Cor 5:10; 1 Tim 6:15; Rev 17:14; 19:16; 20:11). He will smite the nations (Rev 19:15). He will do right.
God has destined us for salvation (1 Thess 5:9), having predestined us to adoption as sons by His gracious choice in election (Rom 11:5–6; Eph 1:4–5; 1 Thess 1:4). For this reason, the Lord knows those who are His (2 Tim 2:19). Nothing can separate us from His love nor can anyone bring a charge against His elect (Rom 8:33). And there is salvation in no other name than the name above every other name (Acts 4:12; Eph 1:21).
Today, those born again of God confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. On that day when all is fully subject to Him, who sits on His glorious throne, every knee will bow and tongue will confess that same fact (Phil 2:11). One’s eternal home will determine the spirit in which that declaration of truth will be made (Eccl 12:5).
Christ’s church loves and serves her exalted Head because He alone is worthy to receive honor, credit, praise, and glory because He created all things, owns the heavens and the earth, has dominion and power in His rule and reign over all (Mt 28:18; 1 Pet 4:11; 5:11). We worship and adore Him who has promised to prepare a place for us (Jn 14:2–3), return for us, and present us holy and blameless before God the Father (Eph 1:5; 5:27; Col 1:22).
With the mind of Christ, we keep our eyes upon Jesus who authors and perfects the faith of each saint (Heb 12:2). Seeking the things above where He is seated, our focus is forever on Him who loved us and gave himself for us (Gal 2:20; Eph 5:2, 25). He is coming. We are waiting.
Not one of His own, purchased with His own precious blood, will be lost or stolen from the omnipotent Lord who reigns. His works were finished from the foundation of the world and our days were known to Him before there was yet one of them (Acts 15:18; Heb 4:3). Therefore, while it is yet called “today” let us walk in the manner worthy of our calling…zealous for good works (Titus 2:14).
The blessed assurance, of our blessed hope, of Christ’s coming and our resurrection to be with Him, should compel us to prepare as a bride does for her wedding day. Washing ourselves with the water of the Word is how we purify ourselves to be holy as God is holy (Eph 5:26; 1 Pet 1:15–16). The work of the sanctifying Spirit is to employ the Word in fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer for us at Gethsemane (Jn 17:17).
Now to Him who is willing, able and already doing His good pleasure in us who believe in Him…glory! Yes, glory to Him who raises the dead. Glory to God in the highest! Glory to Christ the Victor! Glory to the Spirit who cannot fail to accomplish all that concerns us — with the power that works mightily in us. Glory now. Glory forever.
Spokane Valley, Washington
September 18, 2023