The Imminent Return of Christ

By Emily Kane

‘Maranatha’  an Aramaic phrase, which translates as ‘The Lord is coming’, is sometimes used at the end of a church service. The response of the congregation to this statement is, ‘And it could be today’.

I’m sure this isn’t a brand new concept for the majority of people reading this devotional – we all know that the Lord Jesus came to earth as a baby to live, die, and rise again. He ascended into heaven and now sits at God’s right hand ready to return one day to make all things new and live with His people forever. While we know this truth, we often live with it in the backburner of our minds. But, when we stop and contemplate the reality that Jesus could return today, or this week, month or year, then suddenly our priorities change. When we start to fully consider what Christ’s return looks like, not only for us, but also for those around us, we should be filled with a sense of urgency.

While as Christians we have a sure and certain hope that Christ’s return will mean everlasting blessing for us in Heaven, the opposite is also a reality for those who aren’t Christians. When Christ returns there will be a Day of Judgement. And on that day, those who did not turn to God for salvation will be “thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). We don’t like thinking about it, but the truth is that Hell is a very real outcome for sinners. The Bible promises eternal punishment for the wicked, and God always keeps His promises.

With this in mind, a sense of missional urgency should fill every part of our lives. The response “and it could be TODAY” should be the motivation for everything we say and do. Today could be the last chance someone has to repent. Today could be the last chance to share the gospel with that camper. Today could be the last chance to show God’s love to those around us. Deep down we know this, and yet our actions tell the world, “The end is not soon, the mission is not urgent.” This needs to change, we need to begin living with eternity in view.

Read 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians during this week.

Throughout Thessalonians Paul is reminding the people that this life, and all that we enjoy in it, is not our final destination, the Day of the Lord is coming. This life is merely preparation for that final destination. As Christians we live between the ‘already’ of our conversion, and the ‘not yet’ of eternity. Living with eternity in view essentially means that we are waiting for that glorious day to come, and if you’re anything like me you find waiting an incredibly boring task. However, biblical waiting isn’t just sitting twiddling our thumbs and daydreaming until Jesus returns. Paul Tripp in his overview of Thessalonians writes,

“And so, (biblical) waiting is a participatory action. I wait, committed to grow in holiness. I wait, committed to be self-controlled. I wait, committed to stay alert. I wait, committed to live in such a way that I gain the respect of others. I wait, committed to love others as Christ has loved me. I wait, committed to live at peace, and in peace. I wait, committed to give thanks in everything.”

The wait for eternity isn’t just about what we get at the end, it’s about how God can transform and use us as we wait. As we wait for the imminent return of Christ is this the posture of our hearts? (1 Thessalonians 5:12-24)

As we start to prepare to serve God this summer may we be stirred to wait in action for the Lord as we pray, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20)


Are you good at waiting?

How can you be seeking more opportunities to serve God and make Him known as you wait for eternity?

Read 1 Thessalonians 2:8, what does this tell us about Godly mission?

‘God makes His invisible love visible by sending people of love to give love to people who need love’  P.Tripp – the apostle Paul is a model of that. Reflect on your own life, is the same true for you?

Further Reading:

During this week consider why the truth of Jesus’ imminent return is something that we are committed to believing as Christians, and what impact believing this has on our faith. As you read the following passages consider these two questions:

  • What do these passages teach us about Christ?
  • How does what we learn from these passages encourage and motivate us ahead of serving this summer?

Mark 13:24-37: We believe in the imminent personal and visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ,

Revelation 20: We believe His millennial rule on earth, *

1 Corinthians 15: We believe the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust,

Matthew 25:31-46: We believe God’s judgment of the living and the dead,

Revelation 21:1-7: We believe the everlasting blessedness of the saved and,

2 Thessalonians 1:5-12: We believe the eternal punishment of the wicked.

*I’ve linked a couple of interesting and helpful podcasts for you listen to (if you make it this far) because these guys can explain this topic far better than me!!


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