As a church family, we just finished our study through Mark 13 where Jesus speaks about His second coming. One of the questions we sought to answer is the following… What effect should the doctrine of Jesus’ second coming have on us? In the next two blog posts I want to highlight two important answers to that question. In this post, we look at how this doctrine should give us hope and perseverance in the midst of our suffering.
When Jesus comes back, He will bring in the fullness of His kingdom. Our hopes of heaven will become reality when He ushers in the new heavens and the new earth, which will be our eternal home. That will be a place (and the time) where “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain…” (Rev 21:4). Until then, we live in a world that is still under the curse, that groans for restoration (Rom 8:22), a world where there will be wars and famine and earthquakes (Mark 13:7-8), where we will suffer the decay of our physical bodies (2 Cor 4:16), and also the persecution that comes from our identification with Christ (Matt 5:10-12). While (because of the gospel) we already have been made sons and daughters of God, and are already totally forgiven, and have His Holy Spirit dwelling within us, and have every spiritual blessing in the heavily realms, we do not yet have the fulness of everything that belongs to us. That fulness won’t be ours until the eternal state is ushered in, and the eternal state won’t be ushered in until Jesus comes back.
This is why the Bible suggests that the second coming of Jesus is our “blessed hope” and something that we “eagerly await”. We sometimes speak of heaven like it is the consolation prize - something to look forward to when this world fails to give us what we want. But that is to think wrongly of heaven. Heaven isn’t the consolation prize, it is the glorious fulness of all we have been designed for. Until we have it, we will groan. A certainty about the second coming of Jesus should give us hope and perseverance in the suffering and hardships we endure in this life. Take some time this week to ponder the many ways the Bible links Jesus’ return as the ultimate relief for suffering, and think about how this should give you hope and perseverance. Here are some passages to consider…
- Relief from decaying bodies (1 Cor 15, Phil 3:20-21)
- Relief from death (1 Cor 15:50-58)
- Relief from suffering (Rom 8:18-25, 2 Cor 4:7-18)
- Relief from persecution (2 Thess 1:3-12)
- Relief from the manifold effects of sin (Rev 21:3-4)