Waiting for Our Lord’s Return
Hoekema does it again. Here he highlights the New Testament teaching on the role our expectations of Christ’s Second Coming should have upon our daily living. It doesn’t get much more practical than this:
What do the New Testament writers have to say about the practical significance of the expectation of the Parousia [i.e. the second coming of Christ] for faith in life? Most common is the emphasis that our expectation of the Lord’s return should serve as an incentive to holy living. So we hear Paul telling us in Romans 13 that the nearness of that return should motivate us to cast off the works of darkness and to put on the armor of light, to make no provisions for the flesh but to conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day (vv. 12-14). In Titus 2:11 – 13 Paul makes the point that our living between Christ’s two comings means that we must renounce worldly passions and live sober, upright, and godly lives in this present world. Peter, it his first epistle, tells us that setting our hopes fully on the grace that is coming to us at the revelation of Christ means for us the diligent pursuit of self-control, obedience, and holiness (I Peter 1:13 – 15). And in his second letter he puts it this way: “since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening (or earnestly desiring, mg.) The coming of the day of God…” (II Peter 3:11 – 12). The Apostle John, in his first epistle, after telling us that when Christ appears in glory we shall be like him, adds “and everyone who does hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (I John 3:2 – 3).
In various other ways our anticipation of the second coming should affect the quality of our living. The future appearance of our Lord should move us to be faithful to the commission God has given us, as it did Timothy (I Tim. 6:14). If we continue to abide in Christ, we shall be confident and unashamed before him when he appears (I John 2:28). The realization that when the Lord comes he will disclose the purposes of our hearts implies that we ought not to utter premature judgments about people (I Cor. 4:5). Being faithful and wise managers of what ever the Lord has entrusted to our care is another way of showing that we are ready for the Lord’s return (Luke 12:41 – 48). In the parables of the Talents and the Pounds the point is made that readiness for Christ’s return means working diligently for him with the gifts and abilities he has given us… And in the light of the portrayal of the last judgment found in Matthew 25:31-46, the best way to be prepared for the Second Coming is to be continually showing love to those who are Christ’s brothers.
Our expectation of the Lord’s return, therefore, should be a constant incentive to live for Christ and for his kingdom, and to seek the things that are above, not the things that are on the earth. But the best way to seek the things above is to be busy for the Lord here and now.
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