I want to begin this article with a question that I recently heard, “If you knew that in 30 days’ time Jesus was returning, what would you do to get things ready for inspection?” What a great question to ask on so many levels. The question did cause me concern and I will get into the why in a minute. Last Sunday, as I read Romans 14:12, a number of faces in the auditorium appeared troubled. Here is the verse again, “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.” Biblically speaking, there will be no warning, for Christ’s coming will be “as a thief in the night” (1st Thessalonians 5:2). Jesus reveals it with these words, “And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:30). Judgment is coming and that reality is unnerving! Or is it?
But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate
of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.
1st Thessalonians 5:8
For the Christian, our journey homeward involves numerous choices along the way, some of which Paul mentions in the verse above. In the above verse, the word sober means to be calm and collected in spirit. As we anticipate that day, when we see our Savior face to face, we need to be calm. As we observe in v6, what accompanies this mindset is watchfulness, for we do live in a dark world. The Spirit guided Paul to emphasize this sober mind with an imagery of armor; that is, the breastplate and helmet (take a moment and read Ephesians 6:10-20) which one commentator says are “the two most important defensive items.” It is here where I wish us to focus on for a moment. The helmet is “the hope of salvation”! As one person expressed, this speaks of “a sure and certain expectation.” Let me put it this way, the Christian should be able to say, “I am saved; thus, I will anticipate the salvation that I have received when Jesus comes.” We have every reason to HOPE and live each day in that HOPE which is Christ!
For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
1st Thessalonians 5:9-10
It is true, we are works in progress and we should be doing our best to progress…right? But my hope is not in my progress! Right? Or is it? You see, when I gasp at the idea of Christ’s return, I do so because I am looking at myself separate from His redemptive work in my life. The fear or doubt is there because I see me and not Him. True, there may be some who need to be honest about the genuineness of their walks, but I am not talking to them. If you have come to know Jesus as Savior, been washed in the watery grave of baptism, then know that “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have REDEMPTION through HIS BLOOD, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14). Christ has done the heavy lifting, so walk soberly (calmly) in the hope of His salvation.