Christmas is about hope. “Long lay the world in sin and error pining. Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.” Jesus’ first coming gives us perfect hope only when we grasp what it points to: His second coming, “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ;” our hope is the second coming of Christ and being with our Triune God and all our saved loved ones in a perfect new heaven and new earth with perfect new bodies in sinless perfection forever and ever and ever! The apostle Paul was always looking for (Titus 2:11-13), longing for (2 Tim. 4:6-8), groaning for (Romans 8:23-25), desiring and preferring to be with Jesus. (Phil. 1:23, 2 Cor. 5:8) Even Abraham and the OT saints longed for heaven (Heb. 11:16) and John by the Spirit urges us to pray for Christ’s soon return. “Amen. Come Lord Jesus.” (Rev. 22:20) There is absolutely nothing a lover desires more than to be with her beloved. So even the greatest blessings in this life should never dampen or compete with our passion to be with our Lord, the Lover of our soul, and to see His righteousness cover the earth and to see the whole world giving Him the glory He so deserves.
But sadly many people (even some believers) still put so much of their hope for joy and happiness in this life, in this fallen world, and seldom think about, long for and pray for Jesus’ return as John and Paul and others did in the Scriptures. If you ask some people when they want the Lord to come back some will say, not now, or later, after I marry (and have sex), after I have a family, after my grandkids grow up, after I enjoy some years of retirement, after, later, but not today! In the meantime….
In the meantime…”The whole world is under the control of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19) And Jesus says in Matthew 24:12 that evil will increase in the last days. “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” Life since the Fall is called “this present evil age” (Gal. 1:4) and evil and suffering will not end until our Lord returns and establishes His kingdom where “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev. 21:4) Just one sad example of why we should long for Christ’s return is that thousands of children are starving to death each day and our best efforts as God’s church have not been able to remedy this sad (and evil) situation. That, along with the almost unspeakable evil done every day (child molestation/sex-slaves), should cause us to beg for our Lord’s soon return. We are in a war of life and death and it will not end until our Lord returns. We want all wars to end and especially the war against Satan, sin, and death. “Then the devil who had led them astray [deceiving and seducing them] was hurled into the fiery lake of burning brimstone, where the beast (the Antichrist) and false prophet were; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever (through the ages of the ages).” (Rev. 20:10)
In the meantime….All of nature is cursed “For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” (Rom. 8:21-23; also see 2 Cor. 4:16-18) One of my favorite gospel songs that speaks of heaven is, Where the Roses Never Fade. Beginning with the Millennial Kingdom and going into the eternal state, our glorious future will include a new body, a new heaven, a new earth with all the good things of earth we are familiar with and greatly enjoy- but a purified and perfect earth. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth.” “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:1, 5)
In the meantime…. Even on our best day we still have to deal with the flesh and sin that grieves us and our Lord. “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do-this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” (Rom. 7:19-20, 24) The closer we get to Jesus (spiritually) the clearer we see our sinfulness and the more it grieves us. That is why a godly saint like Paul called himself the chief of sinners near the end of his life. (1 Tim. 1:15-16) We want to be at last and forever the pure, sinless bride without spot or wrinkle for our pure and perfect Bridegroom. “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.” (1 John 3:2-3; Also see Eph. 5:27)
In the meantime…. The world hates our Lord. I want to see Jesus come so He will get what He deserves. He commanded us to pray for His Father’s Glory and righteous rule on this earth just like it is in heaven (Matthew 6:9-10) and this will not occur in its fullness until Jesus returns. Most of the world hates, ignores or belittles Jesus and many religions reduce Him to a human being as a prophet or good moral teacher. This should break our hearts every day. Only when He returns will He and our Father receive all the glory they so greatly deserve. “Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To him who sits on the throne (God the Father) and to the Lamb (God the Son) be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.” (Rev. 5:13-14)
In the meantime…. We are strangers, pilgrims, sojourners, exiles on this earth and God has set eternity in our hearts. (Eccl. 3:11) As believers we do not belong in this world anymore and things of the world grow increasingly less satisfying because we long to be with our Lord and with the family of God who loves Him too and in our true home – the unimaginable beauty and glory of a new heaven and a new earth forever and ever and ever. The deepest longing of our heart really does come true.
In the meantime….. We are separated from the Lover of our soul. Jesus longs to be with His bride (us) and we long to be with our Bridegroom, Jesus, face to Face continually and forever. “Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting, “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.” (Rev. 19:6-7) “There shall no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His bond-servants shall serve Him; and they shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.” (Revelation 22:3-4)
“Amen. Come Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20)
Len and Kristen
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