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.