Confidence at Christ's Return - I John 2:28

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The time is coming when we will all be required to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son” (John 5:22). “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:  Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31). “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (II Cor. 5:10). “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12). Judgment IS coming!

Many people live in fear of that day. Some are right to fear that day because they know that their lives are not right with God. Paul warns about coming destruction when He spoke of His return in these words, “when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (II Thess. 1:7-9). One who has not obeyed the Gospel has every reason to fear the Lord’s return. Read and study also what the writer of Hebrews said on this subject in Hebrews 10:25-27, and Christ’s statement in Matthew 25:31-33. But there are others who fear this day who should not, because they can actually look forward to that day with great confidence! I believe much of the worry and lack of confidence in many is because they do not know where they stand with God. One of the things John attempted to do in his first epistle is to help his readers understand that they CAN have confidence before the Lord at His coming. 

John wrote, “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming (I John 2:28). Here is the tender address of verse 1, and the admonition and exhortation of verses 24 & 27. It is an address of age to youth, an admonition essential to their well-being. The appearing and His coming are obviously the same event. The conditional phrase, “when He shall appear” indicates John's uncertainty as to the time of the event, thus confirming the teaching of Christ with reference to this event: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (Mark 13:32). The exhortation which this verse contains is grounded in the desire of the apostle that when such an event does occur, both he and his readers might: (1) have confidence or boldness: and (2) not be ashamed before the Lord.  

In our next article, I want us to look at: (1) John’s goal for his “little children,” and (2) his instruction for reaching this goal.

Paul M. Wilmoth