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Already thirty-five years after Jesusí promise to return, Christians had to put up with taunts that their savior was either absent or absent-minded. The Apostle Peter assured his readers that he is neither. Peter wrote: ď 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentanceĒ (2 Peter 3:9). The reason Jesus has not returned yet is because of his patience. God doesnít want anyone to have to face his wrath but wants all to come to repentance and be saved. Notice how Peter said that God is patient with you (2 Peter 3:9). Can you think of a time in your life when you were glad that Jesus didnít return because had he returned then you would have been lost eternally? Thank God for his patience! Thank him for waiting until the Holy Spirit worked repentance, and faith in our hearts.
But now that we believe in Jesus why doesnít he return already? Iíve often had that thought but itís actually a selfish one. Itís like being thankful that the last bus home from downtown waited even though I was late for it, but then getting angry when the bus driver insists on waiting a couple more minutes for other stragglers. In the same way when we get upset that God is taking so long in coming, weíre actually angry at God for being patient. We also show that we donít care what happens to others as long as we make it to heaven.
Instead of complaining that God is so long in coming, why not do something to speed his arrival? Really? We can do that? Yes! When God works through us to spread his Word among unbelievers, hearts are changed, and the elect are brought to faith. The sooner all the elect are brought to faith, the sooner Jesus will reappear. Thatís something to think about the next time weíre tempted to cut back on our outreach efforts here or on the money we send to synod for mission work. Itís a truth that makes us see our church in a new light. This is not a place for refuge from the world as much as it is a training center from which we go out into the world with the Word.
What else should we do besides mission work as we await Christís return? Peter tells us: ďYou ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. 14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with himĒ (2 Peter 3:11b-14).
Since Jesus could return at any time we want
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