The Expository Files

Are You Waiting or Just Passing Time?

2 Corinthians 5:10

" a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed..." (1 Corinthians 15:52)

" For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." (2 Corinthians 5:10).

There are many different attitudes people have about the second coming of God's Son. Some do not expect it and mock those that do (2 Peter 3:3,4; 7-10). Others believe it will probably happen some day, but are not really living in anticipation of it. Instead, they are "just passing time" as they assume it will not be today (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3). And then, some expect it and even prepare for it; "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ." (Titus 2:11-13).

Our Faith is Based on Hope of Glory
"...since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; because of the grace which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel..." (Colossians 1:4-5).

It was this hope placed in the hearts of the Christians at Colossae by the implanting of the gospel that motivated them to wonderful works of love and faith. Verse six speaks of their "constantly bearing fruit and increasing." They were not content to just relax and bide their time. It is because of this hope that we submit our wills to God's and live the way He wants us to live (1 John 3:2,3).

Eager Anticipation of the Lord's Return

One is lacking in spiritual health and foresight if he or she is so at home in the world that there is little eager anticipation for the Lord to return. The eternal blessings of Christ are real and alive. I can think of only one thing that ought to cause us any hesitance about this at all; that we would like to see more obey the gospel first. But if we are so infatuated with the world ourselves, then we have misjudged the value of the things of this world when compared to eternal things (1 Peter 1:3-5;13;17).Never should any of us be willing to live in such a manner that we recoil at the thought that He may come today. If that is the case, then it is obvious that something is not as it ought to be in our lives (1 John 2:28; 4:17-19).

Faith Becomes Sight
At the consummation of this age great and wonderful things will happen for those who have been living in prepared anticipation of Christ's return.

We shall be changed! In a "twinkling of an eye" our bodies will undergo a metamorphosis that will involve something even more grand than the cocoon to butterfly change we see in nature. The new body will be incorruptible, glorious, honorable and immortal. It will no longer be "flesh and blood" because such bodies are not adaptable to the wonderful experiences of eternal life in the kingdom of heaven (1 Corinthians 15:42-44; 49-52).We shall rise into the air to meet the Lord! He had already promised to go and prepare a place for us and to come again to receive us so we could go and be with Him. We will then go with Him to that place to "ever be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17).

We shall be taken home! We will for the first time behold with our new eyes our incorruptible inheritance (Hebrews 9:15). We will shine forth "as the sun" (Matthew 13:43). Evil, suffering and wickedness will effect our lives no more (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:3-5). Eternal day will dawn and there will be no sunset (Revelation 21:22-27).

How critically amiss it is not to yearn deeply for such glory, beauty and peace. If one does not, instead feeling at home in a world swaying under the load of all sorts of evil; of murder and mayhem; blasphemies and suffering; hate and deceit, then he or she had better re-examine their priorities. One sure cure for the complacent Christian who feels too at home in the world is this: obey Jesus with zeal. Speak out for Him; live for Him; Be unashamed of His truth and righteousness. It will not be long until the world responds by letting you know that you are no longer welcome here (2 Timothy 3:12).

The Lord's Eager Anticipation of His Return
We do not often think of the second coming from Jesus' perspective. We usually talk of His appearing in the air as we lift our gazes to Him.

Right now, the Son is sitting at His Father's right hand awaiting the Father's decree to be issued that it is time for time to be no more. Upon that decree, the Son will arise and return to earth with His accompanying legions of angels and the souls of His righteous ones who have died. The souls will be given new bodies, and the bodies of the living faithful will be changed. Then, the moment He has been waiting for; His people will rise to meet Him in the air whereupon He will take us home (Hebrews 10:12,13; 1 Corinthians 15:23-26).

But for now, He is watching and mediating for us with the Father. He is aware of our needs. He waits until that day when He will take us home so that we can see for the first time the gift inheritance which He has prepared. It cost Him much. I am certain He is anxious to see the looks on our faces when we see it for the first time.

Paul said that we have reason to be of good courage, and we certainly do. We are not here just to pass time until Jesus comes again. We are not awaiting an unsure future. We are full of hope and glory. We have a job to do. Jesus is coming again!

By Jon W. Quinn
 From Expository Files 7.12; December 2000