"Perhaps Today Lord"
by Jim McBratney
It is said that the saintly Horatio Bonar greeted each new day with the words: "PERHAPS TODAY, LORD" such was his concept of the IMMINENT RETURN of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to understand the usage of the word imminent as meaning that Christ could come "at any moment".
There are no prophecies that have to be fulfilled in relation to the Lord's return to the air for His church, He could in reality come today, this momentous event is known as the rapture of the church.
A knowledge of prophecy, some understanding of God's programme for the church and the ages to come, that is not translated into godly living is of little or no value at all. Prophecy is not a topic for debate or controversy, it is rather a truth to live by. It is not a toy to play with, nor a weapon to fight with, but a truth to build with. Jude exhorts us to build up ourselves in our most holy faith.
Prophecy that has reached our heads and not our hearts, is more of a hindrance than a help. The plain but sad truth is, we have not really not grasped the implications of the return of the Lord. The writers of the New Testament who bring before us the truth of the Lord's return, always do so in a very practical manner. John, in his first epistle, says that if I am persuaded about the Lord's return that it will lead to holiness in my daily living. Peter says it will it will bring a certain watchfulness, while Paul exhorts us to steadfastness in our faith.
Now let us consider what is going to happen when the Lord returns?
People like to ask awkward questions about the Second Coming, some of these questions border on silliness, and if we are unable to give a satisfactory answer they feel triumphant over us. We just need to remember that Spurgeon once said, "Any fool can ask a question that a wise man cannot answer.
Jesus is coming back PERSONALLY
This is very evident from the plain and unmistakable language that is used by the human penmen of the New Testament.
John 14:3 - the Lord Himself promised -"I will come again".
Acts 1:11 - the angels proclaimed -"This same Jesus shall so come".
1 Thess. 4:16 - the apostle states -"The Lord Himself shall descend".
Jesus is coming for PEOPLE
But not all people. He is coming back for His own people, for those who have a saving faith, for those who have been born again, for those who have been washed and made white through the blood of the Lamb.
This truth should cause us to respect and consider those of our family and friends who are yet without Christ and therefore without hope in the world. They may have heard the gospel many times, but unless they have by faith made Christ their own, then they will have no part in this great event, when Jesus bursts the clouds and comes to receive His own.
Jesus coming is POWERFUL
When the Lord comes back to the air, all those people who have lived and died in the faith of Jesus Christ will be raised from the dead in a glorified body. They may have died a very long time ago, and their bodies returned to dust from whence they came, but that is no hindrance to the power of Christ. Just as Jesus was able to call Lazarus out of the grave at Bethany, so He will call forth from the dead, those who belong to Him.
A generation of the godly will be alive on the earth when Jesus comes again, they will go to heaven without passing through the experience of death. All those who are translated to heaven when Jesus returns will also be transformed. We shall receive a body that is perfectly suited for heaven for all eternity. This present body is physically marred by disease and decay and is subject to death. Our new bodies will never be infected by disease, they will never grow old, and death cannot touch them. The hymn writer longed for this moment when he said:
O Joy, Oh delight, should we go without dying,
No sickness, no sadness, no sorrow, no crying
Caught up in the clouds with the Lord into glory
When Jesus receives His own.
Jesus coming is PRACTICAL
We conclude as we began, the truth of the Second Coming must have a practical import upon all our lives. I cannot say that I believe the Lord's return is near, and yet live a cold, careless Christian life.
I will be like Abraham, living as a pilgrim, my attachments to earth few, my desire the city with foundations and my delight to be in that better country. Alas so many saints seem to prefer the way of Lot, to be in the world, to have our treasure here and now on earth, apparently forgetting that we "brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out" (1Timothy 6:7).
Let us by God's grace put away our apathy and indifference, let us determine that we are going to be the best we can for God. Let us catch the excitement of - Maranatha - the Lord is coming!
Some day, far sooner than we imagine, Jesus will suddenly return. And all our opportunities to pray, witness, to give or to go will be all over, and our lives reviewed at the judgement seat of Christ. What then?