As the Christmas season draws to a close, we are quick to move on from the celebration of our Savior’s birth. Though we have celebrated His first advent—His first coming—the end of this season of celebration should not prevent the anticipation of His second advent.
Jesus Himself promises, “I will surely come again and will take you to myself” (John 14:3). Scripture again speaks of Jesus’ second coming, saying, “So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:28).
Believers have full assurance that Jesus will come again to make all things new, as God will restore creation to Himself, dwelling with men in the fullness of His glory (Revelation 21, 2 Peter 3, Isaiah 65:17-19). This promise is certainly cause for celebration, just as we have celebrated Jesus’ first advent through Christmas. But as we shift our focus from Christmas, it is too easy to overlook the imminence of Christ’s second advent.
What does it mean for believers to live in light of Christ’s second coming?
During His earthly ministry, Jesus urged His disciples to vigilantly and attentively await for His return, as His coming will arrive like a thief in the night, at a time no one knows. He tells us to be like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding feast, always ready to open the door when He comes and knocks. He promises, “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes” (Luke 12:37). Other servants became complacent, turning their attention away from their coming master by distracting themselves with lesser concerns, and in some cases straying into sin.
Like servants eagerly awaiting their master’s return, we must seek the Lord faithfully, repenting genuinely from sin by modifying the direction of our lives accordingly. We must always be ready, as enabling unrepentant sin will only lead to destruction. Like the servants who became distracted, our sin can so easily turn our focus from Jesus. While we endure patiently, Jesus encourages us to remember where we have fallen into sin and repent, returning to our first love (Revelation 2:3-5). Seeking Jesus cannot wait, for now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).
Because of this urgency, believers must share this gospel, this good news that we have! How can we keep silent when we have been rescued from death? How can we keep from inviting others to meet our Savior who loves exceedingly, who died for sinners, whose glory and majesty are indescribable? Jesus commands us to proclaim this gospel to the whole creation, making disciples of all nations. As believers, we are called to give “a reason for the hope” that is within us (1 Peter 3:15).
By the grace of God alone—and not by ourselves and our own efforts—we have assurance that we will one day rejoice with Christ on the Lord’s new Creation. Living in light of Jesus’ second coming compels us to share our hope with those who do not yet know our Lord so that they, too, may be spiritually prepared.
Scripture also directs us to encourage one another within the Church. Paul writes to the Hebrews, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25).
Paul stresses the importance of gathering together as the Church and uplifting one another, especially as Christ’s coming approaches. While he was on earth, Jesus promised that His followers would suffer (John 15:20), but the body of Christ is instructed to suffer and rejoice with one another (1 Corinthians 12:26). Biblical community allows believers to be strengthened as we earnestly await Christ’s return.
Above all, we can be confident that our waiting is not in vain. Jesus promises that those who endure to the end will be saved (Mark 13:13) and will experience the ineffable presence of God.
Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
How sweet and precious is this promise! Fixing our eyes on the glory of God, the suffering we will endure fades away. We have only a moment in this life before dwelling with our Father and Savior for all of eternity—what immense hope this brings!
This “light momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). Great comfort can be found in the truth that this world is not our home. We were created for exceedingly greater glory, and the sin that separates us from our Creator will soon be no more. Those who seek the Lord will one day be restored to His glory, and because of this we can find great hope in the promise of Christ’s imminent return.
Looking to what is unseen means dwelling on the rich truths of the Word and communing with our God. Seeking the unseen can be difficult in the midst of a global pandemic, and it seems the world has been holding its breath for a vaccine and longing for this season to end. But this cannot be the source of our hope. This hope will fail, and it cannot rescue our souls from death.
We will never be filled with enduring hope unless we continually draw our attention to Jesus, the One whose blood cleanses our sin-stained hearts, who clothes us in robes of righteousness.
He will come again, and we must be ready for that day, turning our hearts toward Him, sharing His love with the lost, and rejoicing as we hope for eternal glory.
Have you called upon your Savior? He is waiting for you with open arms (John 6:37). Have you proclaimed His perfect and sufficient love? So many are waiting to be set free (Isaiah 61:1).
Are you filled with the joy of the Lord and the hope of salvation? His grace is sufficient, His promises are sure. “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).
Oh that day when freed from sinning I shall see Thy lovely face Full arrayed in blood-washed linen How I'll sing Thy sovereign grace Come, my Lord, no longer tarry Take my ransomed soul away Send thine angels now to carry Me to realms of endless day Robert Robinson, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing