One of the greatest pleasures of the Christian life is living in the expectation of the return of our King. He is coming for his bride, the church (Revelation 21:9), ushering in an eternity of spiritual and physical blessing on this our new earth (Isaiah 42:9). As citizens of this Messianic Kingdom (Revelation 21:5), we will live in the presence of the everlasting God (Revelation 21:3). There will be no more death or mourning or pain (Revelation 21:3), and we will live in total harmony with every tribe and nation (Revelation 7:9). Isn’t this just wonderful? I am so excited, I can’t wait!
Beware of the danger
Such a great hope has many practical applications in our walk with Jesus. The promise of Christ’s return helps us to overcome today’s suffering (1 Peter 5:10), it improves our relationships with other Christians as we journey together through this life (2 Timothy 4:7) and it helps us to be better custodians of our resources (Matthew 6:20). But there is a danger that comes with our longing for the second coming (Revelation 6:10).
The disciples were rebuked by angels at Christ’s ascension for staring up at the sky – they had work to do and were abandoning the ‘now’ for the ‘not yet’ (Acts 1:10-11). Paul rebukes the church in Thessalonica for doing the same (1 Thessalonians 5:14).
The Bible is clear that we are not to fall into complacency while waiting for Christ’s imminent return. Rather, the second coming should drive us to live heaven out today (1 Thessalonians 5:10) for our King is coming!
At the moment of our salvation, we became new creations (Ephesians 3:1), citizens of heaven on earth (Philippians 3:20), whom Jesus has strategically placed (John 17:15) to serve him ‘now’ (Matthew 6:10).
Empowered by his coming
At his first coming, our King won the day at Calvary (1 Peter 2:24). As we pick up our crosses and follow him (Matthew 16:24) to victory (1 Corinthians 15:55), his second coming should be the cavalry charge (Revelation 19:11) that drives our zeal to live out the promises of the ‘not yet’ (1 Thessalonians 2:12) in ‘the now’.
The promise of the second coming should empower us to pray unceasingly (1 Thessalonians 5:17), love the unloveable (Matthew 5:44) and give to the needy (Matthew 25:31-40). The promise of the second coming should strengthen us to fight for peace (Isaiah 2:2-4) and to forgive the unforgivable (Matthew 18:21-35). The promise of the second coming should drive us into heavenly worship today (Revelations 5:9-12).
Brothers and sisters in Christ, the good news is that we have a great future awaiting us in the ‘not yet’, but let it not distract us in our Christian duty to live for Jesus in the ‘now’.
Jesus is coming, will he find faith on earth? (Luke 18:8)