1st Sunday in Advent Meditation

Heb 9:28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, before we reflect next week on God’s in-breaking love through His Son (Christmas! Yay!), I wanted us to ponder a bit on how to be ready for his promised return. Final exam time, y’all!

Not to be overtly negative, but one would be blind if you have failed to see the steady moral degradation of our once mighty nation. This country, founded and initially bound together by its Christian spiritual values and purpose, is now facing internecine conflict nation-wide. Why? We need to remember the devil is not yet perfectly vanquished and is still at play around us wreaking spiritual havoc; the law, designed to convict us of sin and help us to pounce on grace, is rarely to be found even among churches (let alone the institutions of society); people – church folk included – do not know God, or fear Him as they ought; and the consummation of Christ’s redemptive plan is not finished.

Scoffers might say victory has eluded us.

Balderdash! The author of Hebrews makes clear Jesus IS coming a second time; about this, no disciple would consider arguing against. When Jesus returns in power and the glory of His might, total victory is ours. So how do the giants of the bible tell us to prepare for Christ’s guaranteed second advent?

You might remember John’s teachings midway through his 1st letter:

1 John 3:2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

James told us:

James 5:8 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

Jude laid out:

Jude 1:20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,

St. Peter was bold to say:

1 Peter1:13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 

How, then, did the rubber hit the road for them? These giants never doubted God, but zealously held to what he had promised. This perspective allowed early Christians to conquer all manner of persecution, even the threat of death! Just remember, they didn’t just believe, but did what they were instructed: purifying themselves (working on their sanctification), practicing patience while establishing their hearts in their Savior, building themselves up in the faith and praying, and being sober-minded with a razor focus on the hope which comes from the grace they have received in Christ.

They acted! No hand-sitting; no self-indulgent emotionalism; no compromise with the world.

This is our same charge, as we await our Lord’s return! Pray for the Spirit’s strength, as we begin preparing for this Advent season, how you might engage in this work He has called you to do. The change we want in the world begins with us. May our efforts prepare for His glorious return when he will fully establish His kingdom.

In joyous expectancy,

John