Coming Of Christ
By George Müller
In the days of the apostles the disciples were comforted and encouraged by the prospect of the personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ. An angel had said to them, as they watched the Lord depart from the earth, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11).
This was the hope of the Church, and thus it ought to have remained up to His actual return. His coming should have continued to be the hope of the Church, but this, alas! for centuries has not been the case.
In confessions of faith, the truth that the Lord Jesus will come again may still have a place, but practically, to by far the greater number of His disciples, it has been a mere doctrinal statement that has not been enjoyed, and which has had no influence upon their lives.
The Lord, however, desired it should be otherwise. He intended that His Church should look for Him, that she should watch and wait for His return. Again and again during His personal ministry, the Lord Jesus foretold this great event, and after His ascension the apostle referred continually to it.
Wait for His Return
In Titus 2:11-13 we read: "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." It is laid upon the saints to look for the blissful hope and the appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.
The Lord said to His disciples, "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of man cometh" (Matthew 25:13). Again He said, "Watch ye therefore, for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock crowing, or in the morning; lest coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch" (Mark 13:35-36). Again the Lord says, "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame" (Revelation 16:15).
Are we as believers watching? Are we earnestly longing for the return of that blessed One? Do our hearts truly yearn after Him, and long for His glorious appearing? Are we also doing our part to hasten on His coming? Is it habitually our prayer that the Lord will be pleased to hasten the fulfillment of events yet to be fulfilled before that day comes?
If the truth of Christ’s coming is really received and entered into, the child of God will say, "What can I do for my blessed Saviour before He comes again? How can I most glorify Him? His will concerning me is that I should occupy ‘until He come’ (Luke 19:13). How then can I best use for Him the talents with which I am entrusted, my physical strength, my mental powers? How can my sight, my tongue, all my faculties of mind and body, be best devoted to His praise? How should my time, my money, all that I am and have, be used for Him? How can my whole spirit, soul and body be best consecrated to His service?"
These are deeply important practical questions which all believers in the Lord Jesus should ask themselves, seeing that we are not our own, but are bought with a price, even with His precious blood. Instead of indulging in inactivity and listlessness on account of the evil state of things around us, we should pray and work, and work and pray, as if it were in our power to stem the torrent of abounding iniquity.
Who can say how much good one single child of God who is thoroughly in earnest may accomplish and how greatly he may glorify God by walking in entire separation from all that is hateful to Him?
We have especially to guard against the temptation of slackening our efforts for the conversion of sinners, because the world will not be converted before Jesus comes. Rather should we say, "The time that He delayeth His coming may be short: what therefore can I do to warn sinners, and to win souls for Him?"
I would direct attention to 2 Peter 3:11-14: "Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought we to be in holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming (or hastening the coming) of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless, we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent, that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot and blameless."
As assuredly as the practical character of the Lord’s second coming is really apprehended in the power of it, the most blessed effects upon the life and behavior of Christians will follow. By means of it we are taught what awaits the world lying in the wicked one, and what will be the end of the world’s glory, pride and pomp.
The future destiny of the children of God is also unfolded to us, even that we shall be perfectly conformed to the image of our risen Lord, both in soul and body, when we shall see Him as He is.
Then shall we enter upon the possession of our inheritance which is incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away. Then we shall be seated with Jesus on His throne, to judge the world in union with Him, and to spend a happy eternity together with our Lord in glory.
"Behold I come quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be" (Revelation 22:12).