THE EAGLE AND HIS LADY
INTERSECT (Where the Bible Meets Life) is a regular column of ONE Magazine featuring Dr. Garnett Reid, a member of the Bible faculty at Free Will Baptist Bible College. Email Garnett firstname.lastname@example.org
“Where Is the Promise of His Coming?”
When I was a boy, my dad traveled quite often—always by train—in his business. Some of the happiest days I recall were those when my mother and I would head downtown to Union Station to meet him when he would return. I can’t imagine that we would have ever forgotten or ignored his coming home.
Sad and Strange
Maybe it’s just me, but does it seem to you that Christians have tucked away our Lord’s promised return into the back of our theological closets? Recently I checked some preaching websites that archive sermons from the 1960s and 70s along with current homilies. By my admittedly informal tally, messages on the Second Coming started dwindling in number as the 1980s progressed.
The same trend seems to hold in recent Christian music as well. Check the lyrics to many of the top tunes; you’ll likely be hard pressed to find any mention of Christ’s return.
This oversight is both strange and sad, given how much the Bible makes of the parousia. It’s in each Gospel account, Acts, almost every letter, and is the lifeblood of Revelation.
I can’t help but think of how it would empower the church to dwell more on seeing Jesus again. We’re discouraged over war, crime, economic chaos, and religious turmoil. Yet Paul says that Christ’s return should “encourage one another.”
Then, too, we grieve over our own lifestyles that reflect more of the culture than Christ. When sinful practices and shoddy living plague God’s people, we really do need that “blessed hope . . . teaching us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions.” Anyone who really looks for Jesus to come “purifies himself even as he is pure,” John says.
What’s more, we wring our hands over cold Christians who have no fire, no intensity in their commitment to living as Christ’s disciples. A good dose of “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming” would cure some of what ails us.
The Rope Holds
In our self-absorption, our accommodation to pop culture, and our reduction of Christianity to whatever is workable and trendy, we’ve gutted the hope of Christ’s return from our hearts and minds. That hope might not solve all our problems, but it would remind us where our ultimate loyalty must be.
The only lifeline we have attaches to Jesus, and when He comes He’ll pull us close to His side for all time. That truth should move us to tug on the rope more than we do.