In your Christian circle or community, how often do you typically hear reference to the return of Christ? It seems I hear much about the life and death of Jesus, but not so much about Christ’s return. This has changed over the years, based on my memory and personal experience at least. (Perhaps your experience is different.)
I’m not talking about a quirky obsession with “end time” details (which does affect certain segments of the evangelical community), but rather just living in light of Christ’s return…with a hopeful expectation of it. Maybe we’ve let those with an unhealthy obsession with the end times make us hesitate to bring the topic up – yet this shouldn’t be so. The Second Coming of Christ is a core Christian teaching, without which our faith is incomplete! The Christian song artist Andrew Peterson recently said:
If I had to name one area that has grown since my earlier albums, it would be the realization that I’m longing for a redeemed earth; not just an end to suffering but a beginning of a new and richer life.
The Bible isn’t just a random collection of stories, but is telling the story of God’s plan for this world. All of history is moving towards the climactic conclusion. The biblical metanarrative (big plan or overarching theme), simply put, is:
Creation (of the world) → the fall (of man into sin) → the cross of Christ → future hope of re-creation (new heaven and earth) at Christ’s return
I think it is easy to become so focused on the Christian life now, that we forget about the future aspects of our faith and the implications it has on living our life now. Ironically, when we neglect our future hope this makes our life now harder. Focusing on “the best life now” may work for awhile but will eventually implode on itself. We live in a broken world, and eventually hardship or suffering will reach us.
We need to remember that we are living in a time of “overlap” – after Christ’s first coming to earth, but before Christ’s second coming to earth. The best life is not now. The best life is in the future on the new heaven and earth. This does bring various “tensions” into our life of faith – But may we look to that day with hope or confident expectation!