Embraced  by  Truth . . .
                                    reflections on theology and life

THEOLOGY > Future > The End of the Age > The Blessed Hope > Looking and Waiting     


The believer is looking and waiting for the Second Coming of Christ. Both of these sentiments are found in the Scriptures:

looking for that blessed hope
and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.
Tit. 2:13

For our citizenship is in heaven,
from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior,
the Lord Jesus Christ.
Phil. 3:20

Together these responses speak of anticipation, an expectancy that is created by the promises and predictions of Scripture (see: Promise and Prediction). He is coming, and the believer is filled with hope and eagerness.

General and specific signs are given in Scripture so that the discerning believer will know the time of His Return is approaching. In regard to this fact, Jesus Himself tells us: “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Lu. 21:28; see: Signs of His Coming).

The believer longs to see His Savior. The believer has been saved from the curse of sin, which is the damnable affliction of every individual, finding expression in the state into which each man is born and in every daily activity of man. This affirms that man is sinful both in character and conduct, his position before God as well as his practices against God (see: Death and Depravity).

By the gracious activity of God, the believer has been made to know and to accept his true condition of condemnation and guilt by the God he has despised. Slowly but surely the mind has been awakened and converted from hatred of God (see: Hatred of God) and the things of God to a love for true righteousness and a desire to obey the commands of God, namely to repent and believe on the accomplishments of Christ. That which was foreign and alien now becomes the stable of the new spiritual life the believer has come to know. All of this is the work of grace for the one in whom the Father delights.

To be the recipient of such affection and to grow in knowledge of the One who effected personal redemption is to be humbled by the transformation that has taken and is taking place in the life. It is to begin to love the Savior. Peter expresses the sentiment: “Whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls” (I Pet. 1:8). And to love the Savior translates into a longing to see the Savior.

Not only does the individual believer long to see His Savior, but each believer, as there is the growing awareness that the Day is near, is instructed to encourage other believers: “exhorting one another and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb. 10:25). There is to be mutual encouragement as believers together anticipate and struggle to be faithful until that Day arrives.

During the awful tribulation period that will immediately precede the Second Coming of Christ (see: The Great Tribulation), believers will be tested beyond description; they will experience unimaginable persecution and even martyrdom. The pressing challenge is to stay true and not to forsake the One who has redeemed them. Believers will need each other, and the Scriptures gives this instruction to each of them: exhort one another.

If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ,
let him be accursed. O Lord, come!
I Cor. 16:22

The believer longs for the Savior to make all things new as He promised. John writes: “Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new’ ” (Rev. 21:5). The old is associated with the act of Adam (see: Adam’s Rebellion and By One Man) and the resulting death and depravity for the race (see: Depravity and Death); the old is characterized by the curse on every facet of creation; the old is subject to corruption and decay; the old is identified with sin, suffering, and the end of life; the old is under the control of the evil one and evil men; the old is the City of Man; the old is the Garden of Eden beset by wickedness and iniquity.

But all of this is to be swept away. All things will be made new. God will eliminate all tears, and “there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).

The transformation of creation is redemptive. Just as man will be given a new body, so there will be a new heaven and a new earth. It is not that the old will be completely abolished but that it will be remade, for there will be continuity between the old and the new. Where sin has abounded grace will much more abound.

In this regard consider Romans 8:18-25. Paul affirms that creation “will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” In its current state creation “groans and labors with birth pangs,” longing for and waiting for its redemption. With vivid personification creation is depicted as in great turmoil as it awaits its coming salvation.

Similar to creation the believer is “eagerly waiting” for “the redemption of the body.” Like creation the believer groans within himself, longing for the old to give way to the new. This constitutes the hope of the believer.

The believer longs for vindication and justice. Because the world is filled with the opposite of righteousness the believer suffers physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The psalmist confessed his plight: “For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Ps. 73:3). The life of the wicked is haughty and arrogant:

They have no pains until death; their bodies are fat and sleek. They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind. Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them as a garment. Their eyes swell out through fatness; their hearts overflow with follies. They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression. They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth (Ps. 73:4-9).

The psalmist asked the question of every believer: “Lord, how long will the wicked, how long will the wicked triumph?” (Ps. 94:3). In addition to the question, the prayer is: “May sinners be consumed from the earth, and the wicked be no more” (Ps. 104:35).

Such sentiments reflect the believer’s observation of the wrong done by the wicked and the fact that in this life often the wicked individual does not give an account for his wickedness. There is no justice. And at the hands of the wicked the godly suffer, often viciously and at times with deadly results (see: Rev. 6:9-11). When will evil be eliminated? When will evil be judged?

Not only did the psalmist observe the seemingly successful life of the evil person, but he  also understood the end of the wicked: “Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction. Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment” (Ps. 73:18). In a moment, when the Day of the Lord comes, then the longing and the prayers of the believer will find fulfillment.

Jesus announces in Revelation: “Surely I am coming quickly” (22:20), and to this assurance John responds with what should be the response of every believer: “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20).

Return to: The Blessed Hope; Next Article: Question of Imminency 

For overview of THEOLOGY, see: Site Map - Theology
Copyright © Embraced by Truth
All rights reserved.
Materials may be freely copied for personal and academic use;
appropriate reference must be made to this site.
Links are invited.