Perhaps one of the most neglected Biblical truths of the present time is the imminent return of our Lord Jesus. This great teaching that our LORD Jesus will return to call His people home and sort out this earth is mentioned regularly in the Word of God. The ignoring of this truth is strange given the fact that there are many things seen in the world today which would give strong hints that the LORD will soon return.
Of course people in the world around us do not want to think that the LORD will return. People prefer to live their lives thinking that God will not intervene in this world. Once they have convinced themselves of this then they feel they can live lives without thinking that they must give an account to God one day. They reason that a God who will not intervene in this world is a God who is not interested in their lives.
Peter speaks about this in 2 Peter 3 . He says that scoffers will come in the last days ,…..saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation (vv3b-4). Peter responds to this scoffing by indicating that these people forget the flood. In vv 5-9 Peter argues along three lines about the return of the LORD:
- that the flood proves that God does intervene in this world. In fact He intervenes to judge (vv5-7).
- the fact that the LORD has stayed away for a long time in our reckoning does not mean that it is a long time in God’s reckoning. This is because with the LORD one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day (v8b).
- the LORD has stayed away for so long because He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (v9b). Men say the LORD has stayed away and therefore he has no interest in us. God says the LORD has stayed away because He is desperately interested in us.
At this point we have to acknowledge that different Christians have different understandings as regards the Biblical teaching on the return of the LORD. On account of this many have decided that they can’t be bothered to seek out the truth of God on this matter. This is, of course, very sad and even dangerous. To fail to grasp that the LORD will return is to fall into the scheme of the devil. He, that is Satan, longs that Christians would lose this hope. If Christians lose this expectation then it will effect their present lives. Paul speaks of this when he says to Titus that we should be denying ungodliness and worldly lusts we should live soberly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ (Tit. 2:12-13). Similarly John encourages us to abide in Him that when He appears we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming (1 John 2:28).
The knowledge of the LORD’S return then should be a great impetus to godly living. The knowledge of the future impacts the present. But the Lord’s return also confirms to us the wonder of the future that is ahead. John 14:1-3 and 1 Thess. 4:12-16 are precious passages that tell us that the LORD will come back Himself for His own people to receive His people to Himself. 1 Thess. 4:16 then tell us that we will be forever with the LORD. What amazing things these are! How we should praise our Saviour for doing so much so that we might have so much because His blood was shed to make us to be His forever. Praise his name!
The fact of the LORD’S return also re-assures us as to God’s control over all the affairs of this world. The scripture says that He who is coming will come and will not tarry (Heb. 10:37). Our God has a program and He will stick to it. Men may scoff, but God has His time and way and all will come to pass according to His divine arranging.
But how imminent is the LORD’S return? In Matthew 24:3b the followers of the Lord Jesus had asked Him: what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age? In answer, some of the things he mentioned were famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places (Matt. 24:8b). Statistically, it has been observed, that there was a vast increase in these happenings during the twentieth century.
So let us look for the appearing of our LORD. He could come at any time; there is nothing to be fulfilled before the LORD returns. In the meantime let us labour for our LORD. He has given us all gifts and opportunities and one day the Master will return and we will have to give account for how we have used that which he has given to us. The parable of the minas (Luke 19:11-27) teaches us of the opportunities we all have to serve while the Master is away. And the parable of the talents (Matt:25:14-30) teaches us about the different gifting that each of us have in the service of our God.
So let us anticipate the return of the one who said He will come again. And while we look let us live and labour in the light of His return. So that if He returns, tonight, today or tomorrow we will not be ashamed before Him at His appearing.
(Taken from the Feltham Evangelical Church Newsletter of August 2006)