I used to wonder if I would be scared at Christ’s coming. I still do at times. The conclusion I have come to is: yes and no. Yes, I will probably be frightened by the great show of might that will accompany His coming with thunder and lightning and trumpets and so forth. Yes, there will be a godly fear of the knowledge that I am standing in front of God Almighty. But I think there will also be a certain familiarity involved and that it will be hard to be too scared of the One who already did so much for me in His first coming. St. Paul says, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
The Father who loved us enough to send such a Son must be tender and loving. The Son who brought us such things at the cost of His very life must be kindly disposed toward us. Knowing that such a marvelous day is coming, when we will be filled with reverent fear and familial love at the same time, how can we not live as part of the family, with a holy awe and a pious vigilance? St. Paul prayed that the Colossians would do just that. I pray we will as well, walking in a manner worthy of our coming Lord, with patience and joy, power and might, flowing from a well-fed faith. Our Lord is coming. He is coming for us, His Family.
Christ will come, but as we wait, He still comes to be our strength and hope. We are “being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy” What He asks of us He gives, which is why we can rejoice. The gospel that declares us His own, not-guilty, redeemed and forgiven, is the same gospel at work in and through us. Christ is no idle guest. No, we give thanks to our Father because He has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. We measure up and now God, whose mercy is immeasurable, works through us, bringing forth fruit in every good work in those planted in His grace.
Luther was once supposedly asked what he would do if he knew Christ were returning tomorrow. The story goes that he replied that he’d plant a tree. Will we be afraid on the Last Day? It certainly will be an awe-full day. We need not be afraid of the One who comes for us, though. We qualify. We are delivered, redeemed, forgiven, free. As we wait, then, we can plant our trees, we can live in the confidence of His grace as He who works all things for us works through us as He sees fit.
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