From Mom's Collection

Thoughts on the Coming of the Lord

 

Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

There are two ways of looking at the Lord's Coming. There is a looking for, and there is a looking at it. It is possible to look at it with a keen intellect and profound interest, and yet have it mean nothing to us personally.

It is possible to know but little of the theology and exegesis of the subject, and yet have a deep and holy longing for our Lord to appear. When a wedding is about to occur, the public are looking at it, but the bride is looking for it. Oh, that this great theme may not only be our study, but also our personal hope; foe "unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Hebrews 9:28).   -- Dr. A. B. Simpson

This reminds me of a poem by Annie Johnson Flint.

The Lord Himself

It is not for a sign we are watching...
For wonders above and below
The pouring out of vials of judgment,
The sounding of trumpets of woe;
It is not for a day we are looking
Nor even the time yet to be
When the earth shall be filled with God's glory
As the waters cover the sea;
It is not for a king we are longing
To make the world-kingdoms His own;
It is not for a judge who shall summon
The nations of earth to his throne.

Not for these, though we know they are coming;
They are but adjuncts of Him,
Before whom all glory is clouded,
Besides whom all splendor grows dim.
We wait for the Lord, our beloved,
Our Comforter, Master and Friend,
The substance of all that we hope for,
Beginning of faith and its end;
We watch for our Savior and Bridegroom,
Who loved us and made us his own;
For Him we are looking and longing;
For Jesus, and Jesus alone.

People sometimes give themselves away with what they post on social media. Such attitudes were always there, but sometimes now it is easier to see those who are only looking at the Lord's coming as a future event in an almost philosophical way. Some enjoy debating about it. Some show great pride in their real or imagined knowledge of the subject. Many of us have seen the charts across the front of meeting place, the videos, the movies that propose to tell us exactly how it is all going to happen. But too often these preoccupations are looking at the Lord's coming and not looking for the Lord Himself.

We also run across some who are only looking for the destruction and judgment of the wicked at His second coming to judge the earth. By their words and things they choose to post they clearly tell us that they aren't looking for their Friend, Savior, and Bridegroom - either in our gathering unto Christ or in His coming to establish His Kingdom on earth. They only want a Judge. Their hope and joy is not the Lord Himself, but to see the wicked fall. While there is some measure of comfort in the impending judgment of this evil world, this is not the blessed hope we should be looking for!

First of all we have this warning in Proverbs 24:17-18, Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him. This is a sober reminder not to glory in the fall of the wicked for its own sake.

But more than that, we need to remember this:

1 John 3:2-3 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Because Christ, who carried our sins on the cross, will appear again without the stain of those sins, we have the awe inspiring hope that we will be like Him when He appears again. Like Him, Christian. Not like our present tiresome, sin-battling selves. All of that will be gone forever!

This hope should inspire us to seek to be pure like Him now! It should inspire us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to "live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world..."

It should motivate us to keep short accounts with the Lord and confess and forsake sin as soon as we are aware of it.

1 John 1:8-9 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

It should inspire us to strive against sin and seek holiness.

Hebrews 12:3-4 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

1 Peter 1:15-16 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

It should compel us to know Him now so that we may stand in His righteousness and not our own.

Philippians 3:8-11 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

Jesus Christ should be "the substance of all that we hope for..." He is the beginning and the end (Revelation 22:13). Let us make Him always the object of our hope of His returning instead of looking at that blessed event as just that - an event, or even worse, as little more than a time to gleefully observe the destruction of this present wicked world. Let's keep our eyes on Jesus and live daily in light of the blessed hope of being with Him and like Him.

2 Corinthians 10:17 But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

Graphics and photos by Mary Stephens.
Posted March 2019; CA