Throughout the years people have been convinced that Jesus would return at any moment. Back in the early 1970s Hal Lindsey’s best-selling book, ‘The Late Great Planet Earth‘, and the movie, ‘A Thief in the Night‘, got people thinking Christ would return any day. But, the 70s and 80s went by and still no Jesus. Then there was a lot of talk about the world coming to an end at the turn of the millennium. Remember all the Y2K alarmists? Decades later Jesus hasn’t come!
— Yet, we still are exhorted to be ready for the second coming of the Lord. — “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.” (Mark 13:32-33)
The Importance of Being Ready for the Second Coming of the Lord
Jesus stressed the importance of being ready in a parable, saying “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom” (Matt. 25:1). Five virgins had extra oil with them whereas the other five only had their lamps. The bridegroom didn’t come right away so when it was time to trim their lamps, the ones who weren’t prepared had to leave to purchase more oil. While they were gone, the bridegroom came and it was too late for them to gain entrance into the wedding banquet. The parable concludes, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” (Matt. 25:13)
The five who weren’t ready missed out on a significant, life-changing event. So it will be at the second coming of our Lord. As history has proven, we can’t predict Jesus’ coming. If we aren’t ready, we, or others we love, may miss out.
How Choices We Make Now Will Impact Then
What we do or don’t do now will impact eternity. Here are just a few ways:
- If we keep putting off making sure our hearts are right with God, if we don’t truly know Him, we’ll miss out on eternal life with Him in glory. Or, if we do know Him, this life won’t have as much meaning because we won’t be living in the fullness of life He came to give us (Jn. 10:10). So, let’s start by asking if we truly know Jesus as our personal Savior and Lord. Are we resting solely on the all-sufficiency of the work that Jesus did on the cross for our salvation? If, as believers, we’ve allowed other things to block fellowship with Him, let’s confess our sins (1 Jn. 1:9) and walk in the newness of life He came to give us (Col. 3:1-17). We may only have today to make these decisions.
- If we keep shying away from sharing the Gospel with those who don’t know Him, they might miss out on eternal life with Him in glory for “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Rom. 10:17). Are we making the most of the openings we have (Col. 4:5)? We may not have another opportunity.
- If we keep busy with things that only matter in this life and fail to invest our time and resources into that which counts for eternity, we’ll miss out on rewards when we stand before Christ. What we have done in this life “will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light” and we’ll either be rewarded or “suffer loss” (1 Cor. 3:13-15). The Judgment Seat of Christ is for those whose destiny in heaven with Jesus is already determined so the loss isn’t salvation but undoubtedly rewards as it says that person “will suffer loss but yet will be saved – even though only as one escaping through the flames” (1 Cor. 3:15). We won’t have the joy of casting our crowns (rewards) at Jesus’ feet in worship (Rev. 4:10-11). Imagine seeing the Lord of lords and King of kings in all His glory and majesty with nothing to lay at His feet. That’s a true loss.
When Jesus comes, it will be too late to do the things we put off doing. — “Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.” (Mk. 13:33)