We continued looking at the subject of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in our Bible study tonight, looking at what the New Testament letters of Paul teach about this. There are references in most of His letters; tonight, we looked at Romans 13:11-14, Philippians 1:6, 10; 3:20-21, 1 Cor 1:7; 4:5; 11:26; 15:51-57, Col 3:4, 1 Thess 1:9-10; 2:19-20; 4:13-18; 5:1-11, 23.
There are common themes in these letters. For Christians, Christ’s coming is something to be eagerly anticipated; it is something which informs how we live now (serving the Lord and waiting expectantly) and it gives us hope for the future, a future that includes resurrection of our mortal, lowly bodies into something immortal and glorious. Christ’s resurrection acts as the guarantee that we too will be resurrected; death is not the end. We have a hope that transforms grief and gives us confidence for the future. Christ rescues us from wrath; when He appears, we too will also appear with Him in glory. We can, therefore, endure all that life can throw at us, confident in His judgment and justice to come.
In these passages, Paul paints a picture of hope and encouragement inextricably connected to the return of Jesus Christ.
Jesus will rescue us from coming wrath.
We will be ‘holy and blameless’ in God’s presence when He returns, ‘preserved complete, without blame.’
We have a hope for all who have died before us – none will be forgotten; all will be raised.
We don’t know when this will happen, but we know that it will happen.
We live in the light of this coming; it informs how we live each day.
Hope fuels our daily journeys (including the painful journeys of persecution or grief).
Phil Wickham’s song ‘Your Arrival‘ captures something of the anticipation and hope we have as we wait for Christ to return:
‘Here in the final hour, hope lifts the tired eyes.
Here now, we are waiting for You to arrive.
Great things are set in motion.
The sky breaks where the trumpets sound
You call all Your children to meet You in the clouds.
We are waiting, anticipating
Your arrival, Your arrival,
Voices raising, celebrating
Your arrival, Your arrival.’ (‘Your Arrival’, Phil Wickham)