Sunday, October 24, 2010

From thence He shall come...

As I go over my lesson for tonight's study on the 7th article of the Apostle's Creed I am struck by how little I contemplate the reality of Christ's sure coming. A full dose of dispensational premillennialism during college turned me off to studying the "end times" as a particular subject. The matter of fact way some preachers and teachers will lay out exactly how the end times are supposed to unfold is a total turn off to me, especially when their understanding of the Church seems so fundamentally flawed (dispensationalists draw a sharp distinction between "Israel" and the "Church" leading them down a very narrow path of interpretation about the end times). Despite my general disdain for popular end times teaching, a very sure fact of the Christian faith is the return of our Lord, Jesus Christ. There are virtually hundreds of references to Christ's return that prompts us to think of this event as our blessed hope.

The Apostle's Creed states in it's seventh article- "From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead".

"Thence" refers to the article that precedes stating that Christ is currently sitting at the right hand of God. From His seated place near the Father, Christ will come to judge. It will be His final judgment, so to speak. His final coming will not be like the first, it will be in exaltation and with judgment to be meted out. When He comes again, the faithful (those united to Christ) will be raised to eternal life and blessedness. The wicked (those without Christ) will be raised to punishment.

Eternal blessedness for those united to Christ by faith is a glorious, exhilarating reality that I spend far too little time contemplating. If I would focus on this sure future, I am convinced my present living would be shaped much differently. I am praying for such a perspective.

Packer wrote challenging words in his devotional on the Apostle's Creed-

We think less and less about the better things that Christ will bring us at his reappearance because our thoughts are increasingly absorbed by the good things we enjoy here.

He's probably right. Life is so good for me that I struggle with a sense of longing for eternity. Praise God for the good things of this life, but may they not become so good and seemingly satisfying that I lose a greater longing for my eternal home. For it is an eternal home loaded with greater things than the "good" things I now enjoy.


Brother Titus said...

Thanks for giving us a peek at what you've been doing with your time now that you're laid up and not able to go out and play soccer. Nice work. Your church building should look really great when the work's all done.

Anonymous said...

"Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
For wisdom and might are His.
And He changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to those who have understanding.
He reveals deep and secret things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And light dwells with Him". (Daniel 2:20-22)
I too do not focus on the coming of our Lord Christ Jesus and the end times. Maybe because I fear working toward the goal instead of walking by faith. Bible study and communion on Sunday keeps me on guard and watching for Christs return.
My thought about the study of the end times is; Just like the rest of the bible Revelation should be studied. Believing that calling on the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells in each believer for wisdom, and understanding of this book will be opened to those who read and study. I think I(we)depend on others to interpet the scriptures when we have a teacher, helper, and comforter given to each believer to call upon. He will reveal deep and secret things as stated in Daniel.
The coming of Christ will be a glorious day for those faithful believers, but a terrible inescapable day of terror for the wicked and unbelievers.

Brian Albert said...

God bless you Tony. As usual, the Father has blessed you with pointed eloquence. As I am currently preaching through the "hermeneutical minefield" of Matthew 24, I find your comments timely and Christocentric.
Much love and blessings brother,

Woody Woodward said...

So providential! For over 25 years, I too was frozen in the pre-mill, “dispensational” campground of “The Jews can never do wrong, planning for THE day of Rapture, listening to every news event that happens in Israel, reading the charts, and listening intently to the sensationalists. Now it seems silly. And I have a cousin who has written two well selling books on the end times. So bless the pre-mill’s heart, they mean well but just looking to the wrong places for the right answers.

jeff said...

I know EXACTLY how things are going to happen in the end. I read Left Behind...