Living in Light of Eternity

“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

A few months ago, this emergency alert lit up smartphones across Hawaii. Upon seeing the warning, some people sent emotional messages to their families, some frantically searched for cover, and others calmly updated their social media with screenshots of the alert. Fortunately, it was a false alarm, and we can smile now as we look back at people’s reactions.

As Christians, we too have received a warning about the end of the world as we know it. Jesus is coming back! Just like Hawaiians, different believers respond to this alert in different ways. Some people pour themselves into trying to determine which current events are fulfilling which apocalyptical prophecies, and others skip over Daniel, Revelation, and all other Scripture that seems to allude to end times. Some even grimace when they see an article like this and think, “Jesus is going to come back, who cares about how and when?”

Admittedly, I have often found myself in this last camp. However, the return of Christ is an essential Christian doctrine and a significant portion of the Bible is devoted to describing His second coming. Article 20 of the 1963 Confession of Faith entitled “The Final Consummation” echoes this doctrine. There are many differing interpretations of the Bible’s teaching on Jesus’ return, so let’s start with a quick rundown of what almost everyone agrees on.

Apocalypse 101

Jesus is coming back (Revelation 1:7), and when He comes, the dead will be raised (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). All demons and all people whose sins are not covered by the blood of Christ will be eternally separated from God, while those covered by the blood of Jesus will enter everlasting fellowship with God (Daniel 12:2, Revelation 20:10,15). In short, all things will be made new, and Jesus will reign forever (Revelation 21:5; 22:4-5)! Obviously, there is a lot of disagreement on exactly how all of this will take place, but there are some practical applications we can apply regardless of your specific eschatological view.

A Change of Focus

First, the return of Christ should change our perspective on life. We do not know when Christ will come back. Therefore, we must always be ready for His second coming. In Luke 12, Jesus tells a parable which compares those waiting for His return to servants staying awake all night waiting for their master to come home. Are you awake? Are you like the servants preparing for His return, or are you like the other servants mentioned in Luke 12 who feast, drink, and oppress others – forgetting that their master is coming back?

It’s easy for us to become entirely focused on our jobs, friends, and plans for the future, forgetting that we must focus on eternity if we want to be truly effective in this life. Second Corinthians 4:18 says, “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.”[1] People may warn of being “so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good.” However, the far greater danger is to be so earthly minded that we are of no heavenly good.

As Christians, we put all our proverbial stock in heaven; if heaven is not a reality, then we waste our lives. First Corinthians 15:19 proclaims, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”[2] Is this true of your life? Would the life choices you are making be foolish if Christ’s return and our resurrection were not assured? Is your focus on the few short years you have here on earth, or is it on the eternity you will spend after you depart? As C. S. Lewis aptly put it, “Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth ‘thrown in’: aim at Earth and you will get neither.”[3]

Let’s Tell the World!

The return of Christ should change the way we relate to others. As noted in the 1963 Confession of Faith, “His coming will introduce the resurrection.”[4] Death is not the end of our lives – in fact, it is closer to the beginning. Every person we meet will one day spend eternity in either heaven or hell. We are given the opportunity to point them towards the right destination today.

Oswald J. Smith said, “We talk of the Second Coming; half the world has never heard of the first.”[5] This is a sobering thought. God doesn’t want anyone to spend eternity in hell (2 Peter 3:9), yet there are billions who have never heard the Gospel. Second Corinthians 5:20 tells us that we speak on God’s behalf when we tell others to be reconciled with Him. Could there be any responsibility greater than speaking on God’s behalf?

In addition, the spread of the Gospel to all people groups is directly linked to Christ’s return. Jesus says in Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”[6] We don’t know when this will be completed, but we know it will happen.

God is carrying out His wonderful plan, and He has given each of us a part in it. He has chosen to use us to advance the Gospel. When you interact with your non-Christian friends, remember that they will spend eternity in either heaven or hell. You speak on behalf of God. What will you tell them?

Come, Lord Jesus!

Finally, as Titus 2:13 says, we should wait “for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”[7] If you are following Jesus, His return is not a scary thing. In fact, it is incredibly exciting. As a child, I really didn’t look forward to Christ’s second coming. I found myself hoping Jesus wouldn’t return until after this or that exciting future event. I see now that His return will be the most exciting event that will ever happen! Let’s live today in the light of eternity, telling others about our Saviour and watching expectantly for the day of His return. Come, Lord Jesus!

 

 

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset Matt Jantzi grew up in rural Ontario, Canada. He is passionate about discipleship, personal evangelism, apologetics, and global missions. Matt loves encouraging other young Christians to radically follow Jesus, regardless of the cost. In his spare time, you can find him watching debates, studying systematic theology, or using sleight of hand magic tricks to share the Gospel with strangers.

 

[1] The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Wheaton: Crossway, 2001, 2007, 2011.

[2] Ibid

[3] Lewis, Clive Staples. Mere Christianity. Harper Collins Publishers, 1952

[4] “Mennonite Confession of Faith, 1963.” Mennonite Confession of Faith, 1963 – GAMEO

[5] “Oswald J. Smith.” AZQuotes.com. Wind and Fly LTD, 2018. 15 March 2018. http://www.azquotes.com/quote/581849

[6] The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Wheaton: Crossway, 2001, 2007, 2011.

[7] Ibid

One thought on “Living in Light of Eternity

  1. I sure am looking forward to His coming. I enjoy reading about it in Daniel and Revelations but I think that each of the labeled positions on end times seem to have a lot of assumptions that are not clear from a simple reading of the Word. I tend to believe that, like Jesus first coming His second coming will be far different from any of the official points of view. I hope to be ready to see things His way and not try to force events into my preconceived notions.

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