Friday, December 04, 2009

Eagerly Waiting

Are you looking forward to Christmas? Are you counting down the days on your chocolate Advent Calendar? Are you all excited about the big day? After all, it's just three weeks today - 21 days to Christmas.

Yet before Christmas comes, we have the season of Advent. No, Advent isn't a synonym for chocolate calendars, nor something made up by Mr Cadbury. Advent literally means 'Coming' - arrival. As we wait for Christmas (when we recall Jesus first coming, born in Bethlehem), we're reminded that Jesus is coming - not again as a baby, but as conquering King and just Judge.

The writer to the Hebrews, as he explains the unique once for all-ness of Christ's sacrifice on the cross, shows the difference between the first and second comings of the Lord Jesus:
But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgement, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:26-28)
There is a corresponding pattern for man and Messiah: Man dies and faces judgement; Christ died for our sins and returns as Saviour (and Judge).

God's word is plain: there are no second chances after death; no half-way house for post-death conversion; no purgatory, no reincarnation as a beetle or a cow or a flower. Death, then judgement.

Christ Jesus will return, having already dealt with sin, to save his people. His people are those who are eagerly waiting for his appearing, who long with every desire for Christ's kingdom to come. Richard Coekin writes: 'Our highest delight will be when our Lord finally returns to gather us into his presence... We pray for all this when we pray 'Your kingdom come.' (Our Father, p. 80)

The Lord will surely come - he is coming quickly. Are you eagerly waiting for him?

1 comment :

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