Jesus could return at any moment. Are you ready? The apostle John exhorts us to “abide in Him (Jesus Christ); that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming” (1 Jn. 2:28). The Bible tells us to anticipate the imminent (any-moment) return of Christ. For example, the apostle Paul, in attempting to stir the Roman church out of her spiritual lethargy, told the Roman believers to “wake up” and understand that they needed to live a Christ-honoring life. Paul said, “Now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed” (Rom. 13:11). Because those to whom Paul wrote were already justified in the sight of God, “salvation” in this verse could only refer to the future aspect of salvation; that is, the believers at that moment were closer to experiencing eternity with Jesus in their glorified bodies than they were at the moment they first believed. Paul continued to exhort them to live for Christ: “The day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light” (Rom. 13:12). This verse reveals several truths. First, it tells us that the day of salvation (future deliverance, or glorification, to which Paul refers in verse 11) is “at hand”; that is, it could happen at any time. Second, it warns us that we as believers can actually clothe ourselves in the “works of darkness” rather than in the “armour of light.” Finally, it urges us that because the day is “at hand,” we need to shun evil and embrace truth. When Paul says, “Let us therefore cast off…,” he is saying, “Because Jesus could come at any time to make your salvation complete, you must immediately wake up and be ready for Him; and to be ready for Him means you must cast off darkness and put on light.”
Many other New Testament references allude to the imminent return of Christ and exhort us to watch for the Savior. The apostle Paul told the Corinthian believers to be “waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:7). He told the Thessalonian believers “to wait for His (God’s) Son from heaven” (1 Thess. 1:10). He told the believers at Philippi, “The Lord is at hand” (Phil. 4:5). James told the believers to “be patient … unto the coming of the Lord … for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh” (Jas. 5:7-8). Yet these exhortations are not simply isolated packets of eschatological information void of any practical application. On the contrary–usually the New Testament writer’s exhortation to watch for the any-moment return of Christ is accompanied by a reminder that the judgment seat will soon follow His return. Yes, because Jesus could return at any moment, we must be motivated to continually live a life of holiness and righteousness acceptable to God as we abide in fellowship with Christ. The any-moment return of Christ for His church is our Blessed Hope. We are not looking for signs but for the Savior. Are you ready to meet Jesus at any moment, or would you be ashamed at His appearing?
— Matt Costella. This editorial appeared in Foundation magazine, Vol. 40, Issue 1, 2019.