What is your reaction to Christ's return? Do you experience fear and anxiety about what will happen? Or are you filled with joy imagining King Jesus' return in victory and splendor?
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, accepting Him as the only way to God the Father and eternity in heaven, then you have no reason to fear the Day of Judgment. As a Christian, you are assured that your eternal future in glory has already been secured. Far from dreading the Second Coming, you can joyfully anticipate Christ's return.
While the exact day and hour is unknown, Jesus gave signs to watch for to anticipate His return. Wars, famines and earthquakes will be some of the birth pains, alerting us to the nearness of the Second Coming (see Matthew 24). Christ told us these things not only so we would be prepared for His return, but so that we would not be deceived by false messiahs.
" 'For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect — if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man' " (Matthew 24:24-27).
Christ's return will not be a quiet, rumored incident. We will not learn about it on the evening news. The next time this world sees Christ, it will be such a spectacular event that no one will miss it.
Jesus describes His return: " 'Immediately after the distress of those days 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.' " (Matthew 24:29-31).
A study of the Cross demonstrates how God is a God of both love and justice. His love enabled the ultimate sacrifice of His Son, fulfilling that need for justice. For those who reject God's gift of salvation, choosing their own definitions of love and justice, Christ's return will mean only judgment and eternal damnation. On that glorious day, they will not rejoice, but will weep and tremble in fear.
The Bible warns us, "He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed" (2 Thessalonians 1:8-10).
We must always be on watch and prepare for that day. God wants us to treat each day as if it were the last before His return. He wants us to live knowing that at any moment, final judgment will come upon this world — not so that we would live in anxiety, but to be motivated to share the Gospel message with those who do not know Him.
What if Christ returned tomorrow? Would that change how you spend the rest of today? Would you continue to keep silent about His love and judgment, or would you boldly and lovingly share about His return? Commit yourself to living a lifestyle that eagerly anticipates the appearance of King Jesus.
Excerpted from My Journal, a monthly devotional magazine from Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef.
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