Being intentionally neglectful of the ridiculous date-setters of every generation, is there a cause (biblical evidence) to live every second of our lives (as believers in Christ) as though Jesus could return at any moment?
I’m taught repeatedly that the Apostles believed this. But did they?
Peter, encouraging those who had received a faith like his, warned of scoffers who would write Jesus’ return off as foolishness. They would mock, “You keep saying He’s coming again… it’s been a long time, where is He (2 Peter 3)?” But…
Did Peter believe Jesus would return in his lifetime? Did he live every minute with one eye lifted toward the clouds? I really don’t see how, unless he somehow had forgotten his conversation with Jesus by the waterfront (I’m pretty confident he didn’t). Jesus assured Peter that he would grow old and die a martyr’s death (John 21:18). Peter as much as tells us that thousands of years could pass before his Lord returns.
What about Paul? Did he anticipate a parting of the clouds coming with every step into the mission field he was assigned to? Obviously not, considering his words to the Thessalonian church. He warned them not to be to anxious, for the great apostasy and the man of sin must be revealed before Jesus would return (2 Thessalonians 2).
At this moment, I’m sure you’re expecting me to take a path of chosen eschatology (end times). Nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, I’m exclaiming my amazement of these men and others for their ministry when they admittedly confess they did not expect Jesus to return in their lifetimes.
They literally gave their lives for the gospel of Jesus Christ when they knew His return was distant!
What does this have to say for us? Every Christian I know says they believe Jesus could return at any moment. Regardless of their end-times belief, they tell me there is nothing holding Jesus back from His second coming.
The natural assumption is that every person who believes this would be urgently involved in the forwarding of the gospel. We are commanded to ensure the good news is spread to every crack and crevice of the world! If Jesus could return at any moment, there is no time to be concerned with the comforts and cares of this world.
I guess I’m writing this post to ask myself if I really believe Jesus is coming again… or is it just something I say because it sounds really churchy?
In regard to how Peter and Paul lived their lives in view of the second coming of Christ, it was really a moot point. Don’t get me wrong… they were encouraged and encouraged others with the message, but that’s not what led them to die for their faith. They understood the gospel… and they understood the Great Commission!
They grasped the work of Christ. Paul would consider himself indebted to humanity to share the gospel because God had so mercifully and gracefully given its life-changing power to him.
If Jesus returns before I click the publish button, what will He find us doing? If God decides for Jesus to tarry for another hundred thousand years, how will our lives impact the world generations from now? These are very important questions we all need to consider.