And then they will see the Son of Man coming with great power and glory. And then He will send out the angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven…But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. (Matthew 13:26-27,32-33)
God’s beloved children, His elect people, must live life here on earth with an eternal perspective constantly in mind. All of history is moving to a culmination when King Jesus comes again in glory. He comes to judge and to bring into being the new heavens and new earth. We are to keep watch until He comes.
What does this mean to me? I must live with eternity in mind. There is something better to come! I am to prepare myself for this time.
First, I have to live with eternity in mind. Whatever I face in life on this earth, something far better awaits me. I cannot live simply for the now. There will be good times and bad times on this earth. I should not live as though this is all there is for me. In fact, I am to be a pilgrim and stranger here.
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evil doers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. (I Peter 2:11-12)
As sojourners and exiles on earth, we are not to get too comfortable here. All too often I have lived as though this is my permanent home. Not so, temporal, short lived, full of valleys and mountain tops, not my home. I am a stranger in the wilderness, a hostile place. I am in a war zone where the passions of my flesh wage war against my soul. It is an unsafe place. The enemy is great — the world, the flesh, and the devil. But something better awaits me, supreme perfection, new heavens and a new earth where pure righteousness alone exists.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed…But according to His promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (II Peter 3:10,13)
Here is the ultimate reality. All of history is moving toward this point: Jesus comes; judgment occurs, and then new heavens and a new earth are established! I must live my life in light of this great event. No compromises, poised for warfare, following my King, fighting well, with my eyes on the goal. The saints and angels cheer us on until we join them in glory.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Christ is my goal. I have to lay aside whatever hinders me. I have to keep my eyes on Jesus who is now seated at the right hand of God after enduring the cross for me. He died, was buried, and was resurrected. He ascended into heaven and is now seated at the right hand of God I must keep focused on Him and what is yet to come!
Second, there is something better to come.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no longer more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also He said, ” Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:1-5)
There is God’s promise — a new heaven and a new earth where only righteousness dwells; death will be no more. All our tears will be gone, wiped away by God Himself. Just think, there will be no more mourning, no more crying and no more pain — physical, emotional or spiritual. All these things will pass away forever. God will dwell with us in all His fullness. Now we have the Holy Spirit as a down payment, a pledge, until the great fulfillment that the dwelling place of God will be with us.
There it is — perfection, bliss, glory, to the fullest. We will be glorified with Christ, our souls and bodies reunited. Perfect, immortal bodies free from the damaging effects of sins. Souls fully sanctified — yes, glorified. This is what awaits us.
Third, I am to prepare myself for this glorious time to come. Peter asked the question:
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in the lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming day of God? (II Peter 3:11-12a)
He then gives his answer:
Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by Him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation…(II Peter 3:14-15a)
There is is. How shall we then live?
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