I finish this three part series with a look at Salvation Future. There are events happening in our world today that cause us to wonder if God has just left us here without any hope for the future. When we look at our world today, we see crime on the rise, terrorism on the rise, unexplained disasters on the rise, false religious leaders on the rise, children killing other children, and wars that never cease. All of these events cause us to ask, “Will Jesus return?” Many Christians are wondering if Jesus will ever come back and rescue us from this world of sin and evil.
The short answer is yes, Jesus will return to complete our salvation. God’s Word gives us several promises of his return. There are some 300 verses in the Bible that speak about the return of Jesus. Let’s look at some of these promises concerning the return of Jesus so that we can be encouraged today.
- To be confident that Jesus will return, I must believe the promise of Jesus.
In Matthew 24, Jesus explains to his disciples what will be the signs of the time of his coming. He doesn’t give an exact time or date. But he does give some of the events that will take place before his coming. Then in verses 30-31, Jesus makes this promise. “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” Matthew 24:30-31 (NIV)
So yes, Jesus will return. We have his promise. He told his disciples almost 2000 years ago that these events in Matthew 24 would happen. And we have seen some of them happen just as Jesus said. So we can have faith and believe that what he says here in verses 30-31 will take place also. Yes, Jesus will return. He will gather his church, his bride to take back to heaven. And others who have rejected him will mourn at his coming. It will be too late for them at that time.
- To be confident that Jesus will return, I must believe the promise of the angels.
In Acts 1, we have this promise. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11 (NIV)
This took place as Jesus and his apostles were gathered together after the resurrection. Suddenly, Jesus was taken away in the air and eventually hidden in a cloud. As the apostles are standing wondering where Jesus has gone, suddenly two men dressed in white appear out of nowhere. These angels promise us that Jesus will return in the same way. Once they make their promise, they disappear.
- To be confident that Jesus will return, I must believe the promise of the apostles.
From one of Peter’s letters, 2 Peter 3:10, we have this promise. “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.” 2 Peter 3:10 (NIV) And from one of Paul’s letters, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, we have this promise, “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16 (NIV)
Everywhere the apostles went they preached this same message and gave this promise from the Lord that Jesus would return. The day of the Lord will come; it will happen, and it will take place. They believed Jesus, and they preached his words to others.
- To be confident that Jesus will return, I must believe the promised Holy Spirit.
This one is a little different from the first three. The Holy Spirit does not make a promise. Instead, the Holy Spirit is the promise. Look at how Paul explains to us one of the functions of the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 1. “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14 (NIV)
Back in your salvation past, when you believed in Jesus to save you, God marked you with a seal, the Holy Spirit. He placed himself in you through the presence of the Holy Spirit. This was God’s way of saying to us, “Here is my presence. I will always be with you, and my presence with you is my guarantee that I will return for you.” The presence of the Holy Spirit in us right now is a promise of the return of Jesus. The Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives is a deposit guaranteeing the full payment of salvation future.
Do you believe these promises? Are you ready? Are you prepared for the return of Jesus? Has this promise of his return made any difference in your life? I encourage you to believe in his return, and allow that belief to change the way you live every day.
Will you believe in Jesus’ return?