Living for the end of the world
What do Donald Trump, The Seven Year Switch and this week’s epic Senate session have in common?
They all might be causing you to pray harder for the return of Jesus.
From a channel Seven program about relationship trainwrecks to whatever it was that was going on at Parliament House on Thursday night, recent events could have prompted you to yearn even more for radical change. Enormous change. Stop-everything-I-want-to-get-off change.
The kind of change that will be brought about when God enacts the return of Jesus, as confirmed by Acts 3:20-21, Colossians 3:4, Hebrews 9:28, and many more Bible passages.
Sent again by God, the return of Jesus to earth will usher in a “new heaven and new earth”. A renewed universe where “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away”. (Revelation 21:1-5)
Sounds great. Bring it on.
The test of patience
Hang on a minute. Hold our horses. No matter what we think about Donald Trump, The Seven Year Switch, refugee catastrophes, environmental devastation or Madonna smugly being a few hours late to her own Australian concerts, the return of Jesus shouldn’t be something we treat as a convenient solution whenever it suits us.
Not that it can even be called “convenient”, given no-one knows when it’s actually going to happen (Matthew 24:36). Could be today. Could be in one million years. While we are to eagerly await Jesus’ return (Philippians 3:20; 2 Peter 3:12), the reason we don’t know when it will be is to encourage us to act. Right now. Because God isn’t stalling or absent-minded. God hasn’t sent Jesus back yet because he “is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance”. (2 Peter 3:8-9)
As much as we can love the idea of the world being sorted out and transformed, are we ready for that to happen?
We sigh, moan or wail about all kinds of wrongs that we see around us. But as God’s patience goes on for however long it will go for, have we dealt with our own wrongs which we need to repent of? Have we sought forgiveness from Jesus, the very “grace of God” who “offers salvation to all people”? (Titus 2:11)
Wanting Jesus to come back, to end the world as we know it, might be a dangerous wish if we’ve only been interested in everyone else’s wrongs.
That will be then. This is now
US election results, global warming or the return of Cadbury’s Vegemite chocolate shouldn’t be the prompts for us to long for Jesus to get back here. God’s patience in holding off his new-world-new-heaven order is a time for all of us to give our life over in repentance, belief and faith. (Mark 1:15; Acts 3:19-22; Ephesians 2:8) Before Jesus shows up again.
This future return, then, has a huge impact on how we live right now. For it’s not just like any other future event we look forward to, from time to time. Like a summer holiday or a dinner reservation for Saturday night.
The ironclad reality of Jesus coming back means certain things for living in this world that we so often don’t want to be part of.
The example Jesus set, the teaching and love he delivered, and the salvation he offers “teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions”. (Titus 2:12) But, wait, there’s more than just clear guidance on what not to do. As we “wait for the blessed hope — the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ”, anyone living for Jesus has the ability “to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age“. (Titus 2:12-14)
Doesn’t that sound like a fantastic way to live, as we eagerly wait for Jesus to come back ASAP?