What should be our attitude toward the return of Jesus? Well here are five Bible verses and my thoughts about that…
1 Thessalonians 1:10 – We are to eagerly be waiting and looking for our Lord’s return. As a child I remember days of anticipation in our house as my mom and my siblings waited for my dad to arrive home from work so we could all pile up the station wagon and head to McDonalds or Frosty Rootbeer or the Dairy Maid. That is the same type of waiting in anticipation that we ought to have for the promised return of Jesus. We should “wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 1:10 (ESV).
2 Timothy 4:8 – We should have a love for the return of our Lord, not just an intellectual assent or a theological opinion about its logistics. Paul makes reference to those who will be with Jesus at His return as those “who have loved his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8; ESV). It really is not enough to just like the idea of Jesus returning, because liking something isn’t enough to put in the effort to long for it. It is a love of the blessed hope that keeps our eyes on the promise of our redemption and away from the love of the world.
1 John 2:28-3:3 – When we are longing for the soon return of our Lord there will be a holy purification spurred on within our souls as mentioned in 1 John 3:3 “everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (ESV). It is simply not true that a belief in the pre-trib rapture encourages us to be disengaged from sanctification in Christ. The contrary is true, knowing that our Lord’s return for us can happen at any moment is all the more motivation for an expressed love for holiness.
John 14:1-3 – Knowing that Jesus may return anytime, ought to keep our hearts turned toward Him and not on the troubles of this world. “Let not your hearts be troubled…I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (ESV) is ancient Jewish wedding terminology that inspires us to prepare for His any-moment return and to live our life in that hope. It’s not very encouraging if Jesus’ return is believed to be so far out of reach, beyond so many yet years or after so many yet to happen events, that one is left with merely anticipation of this world’s escalating troubles.
1 Thessalonians 4:18 – The return of our Lord is encouragement to us and after Paul’s discourse of it in 1 Thessalonians 4, he says “encourage one another with these words.” Look, whatever it is you going through, facing, dealing with, struggling about, grieving, – whatever – it can not last forever, it will not define your eternity, it does not have the final say in your immortal fate, because Jesus is coming soon!