This week I’ve been thinking about the Christian’s “blessed hope.” Scripture teaches us that the return of Christ is the blessed hope of every Christian (1 Thess. 2:11-14). While we are still alive here on earth we await the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we have placed our faith in the gospel then we look forward to spending eternity in heaven, worshiping and serving the Lord. The Bible teaches that at any moment the Lord Jesus Christ may return to remove his church (born again Christians) from this world and transport them bodily to heaven (1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:50-57). Scripture promises that church-age believers will not experience God’s wrath in any form, which means we will not be around for the Tribulation, since that is God’s wrath (1 Thess. 5:1-11). The Day of the Lord in 1 Thessalonians 5 refers to the seven years of God’s judgment poured out on the unbelieving world (cf. Matt. 24:3-31).
I look forward to the imminent return of the Lord more and more. When we as Christians are in the presence of the Lord Jesus in heaven we will no longer be capable of sin. Romans 8:30 says, “And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified.”1 When we are glorified our sin natures will be removed. At that time in the presence of Christ we will be fully conformed to his image (Rom. 8:29; 1 John 3:2). We will also receive a glorified body when Christ returns to rapture (“catch up into the air”) the church (1 Cor. 15:35-57). Paul told the Thessalonian believers that the return of Christ for the church was to be an encouragement to them (1 Thess. 4:18). It should be an encouragement to us as well. When Christ raptures the church every born again believer will be taken and will enter heaven. This is apart from us experiencing physical death (1 Cor. 15:51; 1 Thess. 4:17). So, contrary to the statement, “There are only two things that are certain in life – death and taxes,” if Christ returns during our lifetime we will not experience death.
Once we are in heaven, we will see the Lord Jesus in all of his glory (Rev. 1:12-20). Listen to this promise, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist ; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4). There will be no more death, grief, crying, and pain. What a promise! I look forward to the day the Lord Jesus returns, and he may return at any moment. For all who have placed their faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sin and reconciliation to God, it will be a glorious day. Paul prayed for Jesus to return (1 Cor. 16:22), and so did John (Rev. 22:20). Paul said, “There is reserved for me in the future the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8). True believers will love the Lord Jesus’ appearing, that is, his return for the church.
It makes me think of the lyrics, “When we all get to heaven what a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory.”2 What a day that will be for every true believer in Christ! My prayer is that each one of us will be there. It is only through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that anyone will be made right with God and in heaven for eternity. Have you acknowledged your sin and guilt before God? Have you asked his forgiveness? Have you believed that he died for your sins and rose again to make it possible for you to be in heaven for eternity? If you have not done so already,you must before it is too late.
1Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, HCSB®, and Holman CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers. The Holy Bible: Holman Christian Standard Version. (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2009).
2Lyrics from, “When we all get to heaven” written by Eliza E. Hewitt.