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When Jesus Christ is Revealed

by David Johnson

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

 

     It is good to be together again as we look into the Word of God.  The title for the lesson is “When Jesus Christ is Revealed”.  And our theme text is taken from the New Testament the first epistle of Peter chapter 1 verse 13 through 14.  Please listen to the Word of God.

     “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.”   This is the Word of God.  And this is a lesson that is so very important that we all understand.

     Because as Christians we sometimes, when we go through individual or even corporately tough, terrible times, and just wish the Lord would come and catch us up and get us outta here to heaven with Him.  We realize that may sound a bit selfish, but we don’t like to face hard times if we can avoid them.  Of course, hard times will come to all of us eventually.

     The great apostle Paul wrote to the younger man Timothy as he neared his end, being imprisoned in a death cell, about reward that was laid up for him.  A future focus that can ease an unpleasant present.  Consider Second Timothy chapter 4 verses 7 thru 8 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

     Notice from this passage that Paul knew in advance that he was at peace with God, being in Christ through genuine faith and therefore also had the peace of God the fruit    of the Holy Spirit to comfort him.

     “Crown of righteousness” here refers to eternal life with God which all genuine believers inherit in Christ Jesus.  It’s not our righteousness but Christ’s righteousness that is credited, or transferred, to us through persevering faith in Christ to the end.

     The ’crown of righteousness’ is also similarly revealed in other ways in the New Testament.  For example:

Upon our glorification all believers will inherit eternal righteousness perfected in order to be in the presence of God.  We all greatly look forward to this day.  But we must all keep the faith no matter what trial or trouble we face; we must persevere to the end.

     So many think they must merit or earn eternal life, this crown of righteousness, from the Lord, the righteous Judge.  All Christians, that know the Bible, are convinced that the great apostle Paul ‘fought the good fight and finished the race’ to receive eternal life.  That is as an apostle he surely earned his crown of righteousness!

     First note again the ending of Second Timothy chapter 4 verse 8 “will award to me on that day and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.”  Paul emphasized that this peace of mind, this great comforting truth, this blessed hope was not just for him but “all who have longed for his appearing.”  That is of the return of Jesus Christ. 

     Meaning eternal life is offered to all ordinary Christians, such as we are, often greatly troubled with the many burdens of life; it’s for all true believers who long for his appearing. Certainly not for just a select few.  This should be our daily peace and hope now also.  But nobody ever earns nor merits eternal life in heaven.  This is crystal clear from the scriptures.

     Ephesians chapter 2 verses 8 and 9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.”

     Whether the apostle Paul, or the most recent baptized believer in true faith, we are all equally saved only by the grace, unmerited favor, of God through genuine faith.  No one can be half saved.  Everybody either is saved, heaven bound, or not saved, hell bound, there is no other option nor destination.

     But let’s delve deeper for those who still need more clarification regarding the words in Second Timothy chapter 4 verse 8 “but also to all who have longed for, or loved, his appearing.”  Who exactly are these?

     Brother R. H. Boll explains “Now we will want to ask who they are that ‘love his appearing’ Using the American Standard Version 1901.  The answer is simple and obvious: it is those who would be glad to see Him come, to whom the coming of Christ is a hope, an event welcome and much to be desired.  Those who love, or long, for His appearing can from the heart join in the prayer of John in Patmos, and say, ‘Amen: even so come, Lord Jesus.’

     Not of all professing Christians could this be said.  There are those ‘whose mind is on earthly things’ and have set their affection on things below.  There are those who have their hearts set on plans and purposes which would be sadly voided if Jesus came now.  There are those also to whom the coming of the Lord would be a dread and a calamity rather than a hope.  Hardly could any such as these be said to love, or long, for His appearing.  But there are those who expectantly wait for Him, and to whom His return is a matter of deep interest and joyful anticipation.

     If we inquire more narrowly into the question ‘who are they that love His appearing,’ we would have to conclude first of all that it would be those who love the Lord Jesus.  Now this is the real essence of the Christian faith.  Peter sums it up in these words, ‘Whom not having seen, ye love; on whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing ye rejoice greatly, with joy unspeakable and full of glory’ First Peter chapter 1 verse 8.  ‘If any man loveth not the Lord, let him be anathema, maranatha.  Maranatha says Paul; and ‘Grace be with all of them that love our Lord Jesus Christ with a love incorruptible’.  First Corinthians chapter 16 verse 22 and Ephesians chapter 6 verse 24.

     The one thing he wants to know of us, first and above all things, is what He once asked of humbled, penitent Peter.  ‘Simon, son of John, lovest thou me?’  Those who love you are glad to see you come back, after some long absence.  But it is not only that.  We could conceivably get to see Him and be with Him by going to Him.  But the thing the New Testament holds out as the gospel of hope or the goal of hope is His return from heaven.  It is not only that we want to see Him, but we want to see His triumph and glory.  For: ‘Our Lord is now rejected and by the world disowned.  By the many still neglected, and by the few enthroned.  But soon He’ll come in glory, the hour is drawing nigh, for the crowning day is coming bye and bye.

     And many great things are bound up with that, among them our hope; for ‘when Christ who is our life shall be manifested, then shall we also be manifested with Him in glory’ according to Colossians chapter 3 verse 4. Then will be ‘the revealing of the Son of God’.  The event for which all creation waits in eager expectancy, the hour of the redemption of our body.  Romans chapter 8 verse 18 through 23.  ‘For the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.’  That, and more shall transpire in the day when Christ shall appear a second time to them that wait for Him, unto salvation’ Hebrews chapter 9 verse 28.”

     All these are promises that Bible-believing Christians hold close to our hearts.  Yet there is another matter that troubles many Christians regarding the “longing for His appearance.”

     All Christians honest within ourselves know of our unworthiness and that sin is still in our lives and we know that God is absolutely holy and does not condone sin.  Mature Christians are more aware of their moral deficiencies as their consciences become more sensitive to sin in their lives, be it mental or physically done.  That includes sins of omission and sins of commission.

     So, if taken only at our personal condition, many wonder how they could be joyfully longing for Christ’s coming again.  Many would shudder at the thought of His all-seeing eye, knowing that He is Judge who knows every thought and inclination of each and every one of us.

     So, wouldn’t many instead of ‘longing’ for his appearance desire instead to put off that day?  Many Christians deep down fear rather than love His appearing.  Yet the Lord has provided an answer to Christians regarding this fear.  Carefully consider again First Peter chapter 1 verse 13 “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

     Our hope should never be based on our own righteousness.  Remember our salvation, our going to heaven, when the Lord returns for us is never, ever based on our merit or earning it.  Notice the ending of verse 13, First Peter chapter and verse 13 “set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

     Clearly, it’s fully grace, God’s favor we don’t deserve, yet because we are in Christ Jesus and His righteousness thru genuine persevering faith we do go to heaven when Christ returns for His own!  So, fully understanding this we can in fact long for, love His appearing!

  1. H. Boll writes “Grace meets us where we are and makes good our lack. It is on this grace that is to be brought to us at the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, that we are bidden to set our hope perfectly.  If He had said that we may have this hope on condition that we first purified ourselves, it would not have helped us; we could never come up to that.  But the hope is ours first, and freely given; and everyone who has such a hope will on the strength of it purify himself even as He is pure.  The hope of Christ’s coming therefore is a purifying hope.  And they who have it will also love His appearing; and to all such will the Lord, the righteous Judge give the crown of righteousness in that day.”  So very well stated.

     Finally, an illustration to reinforce God’s grace over human merit regarding salvation.  Someone has stated: “I cannot understand why a person who has tried to lead a good moral life should not stand a better chance of heaven than a wicked one.”

Consider this” Suppose you and I wanted to go to a movie.  The admission price is ten dollars.  You have eight dollars and I have two dollars.  Which of us would stand the better chance of admission?

     The realistic answer is: ‘neither one of us.’  Just so, similarly the moral person stands no better chance than the rebellious person according to the necessary standard of God.  But suppose a kind and rich person who knew our shortcoming would present a ticket of admission to each of us at his own expense.  What then?  The answer would be, well then both could enter in alike.  Exactly!

     Thus, from God’s side when the Savior saw our need of entering heaven, He came and died, purchased those of faith and repentance and obedience and obtained eternal redemption for those of faith.  Of course, the obedience is part of our faith, however, it is not a perfect obedience. It is a faith that saves not obedience.  He continues to offer free tickets.  Only take care that your eight dollars don’t make you proud enough to refuse the free ticket and be refused admittance.  The free gift of God’s grace must be accepted by a faith that leads one to obey the gospel of Jesus Christ.

     So, is God’s way unto salvation.  There is no other way; all human ways are but dead ends with no hope of heaven.  Receive Christ, return to Christ.  Trust and obey for there is no other way!

 

         David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ in Sellersburg, IN.




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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10