Monday, May 23, 2016

Young Men, Consider the Returning Jesus

I will come back” (John 14:3, NIV)

The return of Christ to earth is the denouement toward which the Church has been looking for centuries. “Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11) and so is the second coming of our Lord. It is not only the object of our anticipation, but of admonition to very practical Christian duties. A careful study will reveal that this event is linked to every great doctrine and ethical duty.

It sounds a call to consecration (means the separation of oneself from things that are unclean, especially anything that would contaminate one’s relationship with a perfect God). “Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed” (Revelation 16:15). We are to be careful in keeping our garments of the soul stainless. Are we as careful in this realm as we are of the garments we wear? When others see our garments, they see us. We are to “clothed with Christ” (Galatians 3:27 or “put on”) so that others will see Him when they see us. In these Laodicea days our Lord counsels us to “buy from me… white clothes to wear…” (Revelation 3:18).

His return carries with it the assurance of reward. “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me” (Revelation 22:12). There is a tendency to regard the reward motive as a commercializing of Christianity, but it played a prominent part in the thinking of the early Church. Paul frequently refers to it, as did his Master. Some Christians piously protest that they will be content with the lowest place in heaven, but this is false humility and could be a cloak of spiritual lethargy. “Run in such a way as to get the prize,” that is, the promised reward (1 Corinthians 9:24). It any case, rewards are not given. They are earned. Heavenly rewards are for earthly renunciations.

The second coming is an encouragement to continuance. “I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown” (Revelation 3:11). In Hebrews 2:1 we are exhorted not to drift away from the truth we have heard. The ascended Lord urges us to hold fast what we already have, lest our reward be taken by someone else. His imminent return provides the motive for this. There may still be years before this blessed hope is realized. Let us fill the days with sacrificial service. Spiritual idleness/laziness means eternal loss.
[Edited, modified and modernized from Consider Him (1976) by J. Oswald Sanders]


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