The Coming Of The Lord Draws Near!
"The coming of the Lord draweth nigh" says James 5:8. What then can be the reason why the thought of the coming of the Lord occupies us so little? In spite of much less outer reason for it, this thought was lively, present and common with the first Christians. What can the reason be that even with such signs of the times as those of our days, it now is so strange to us?
We do not deny that we rather commonly stick to the doctrine about the coming of the Lord as an article of faith. But from this it does not follow that we also have the coming of Christ as our hope. It is not a question of: do you believe that the Lord shall come? But: do you live in this hope, in a real expectancy of His coming? Not many among us can reply "yes" to this question. If all believers were walking in the hope and waiting for the coming of our glorified Lord, then this hope would reveal itself more in our sermons, in our Christian discussions, in our daily life.
What can the reason be why the thought of the coming of the Lord is so strange to us, yes, almost unwelcome, when it was so lively, dear and present to the hearts of the first Christians? It definitely is not a good sign. Every hope presupposes a wish, and every wish has its root in what we love. Do we really desire and long for the coming of the Lord, when all dimness in the faith, all weakness, all sin, all unfaithfulness against our dear Savior will come to an end? Do we own Him the way we have been owned by Him and see Him as He is and seek to become like Him? If we do, then we would also seek and joyously take hold of all the existing reasons for the blessed hope of this desired day.
If we wished to be more spiritually minded, if we loved our Savior more, and were more desirous of what love always desires, namely, to become wholly united with Him so that all distance and all uncertainty might cease, then we would also live more in the hope of that day. We find a great difference between Christians in this respect. There are people who take the Word of God to their hearts more earnestly and live more attentively to repentance before God and the faith that is in our Lord Jesus Christ, so that the fear of God all the time watches over all their being. Sin therefore must not be unpunished, but is painfully felt, and the grace in Christ is also dearer and more important. Because of sin, however, it is often clouded and hidden from their eyes.
To them the blessed hope and the glorious coming of our Lord Christ are a dear theme, a living hope. With a heartfelt longing they look forward to the day when the heavy fog enveloping their faith here, will be dispelled by the great glory of the Lord. They look forward to the day when they will see their Friend and Savior. Here they have believed in Him. They have spoken with Him and they have been accompanied by Him, though they have not seen Him. They look forward to the day when they will at last enjoy forever what they had sought in vain here, namely a perfect clarity, a full assurance, the perceptible presence of the Savior. In addition, they will then be free from the flesh for ever, the flesh that brought along so much sin, weakness and tribulation. They will be eternally free from the flaming shots of the evil enemy.
If we were more dead to the world and present things, and had our life and our joy only in God, then surely this would be a blessed hope to our hearts. But where the heart is divided, where it is taken up by other things, even if they are innocent and good in themselves, there this longing for the heavenly Bridegroom cannot find entrance. That life cannot be rightly wholesome and sound, as it does not agree with the word and the mind of the first Christians.
"Our conversation is in heaven," says Paul, "from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself" (Phil. 3:20-21). And Paul admonishes us: "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid [yes, hid] with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory" (Col. 3:1-4).
Oh, that we would take this doctrine of Christ and His apostles as regards the coming of the Lord, and the hope of salvation for the Christians, more to our hearts!From Day by Day With God by C. O. Rosenius (1816-1868). He was a lay preacher and writer who served at the Bethlehem Church in Stockholm, Sweden.