Soon Return of Christ (& COVID-19)
This is such an easy association to make: Scripture itemizes many precursors to Christ’s return and pestilence such as COVID-19 are among them (Luke 21:11). But I don’t think many of you need to be educated to that fact. I’ve spoken in past weeks to our call at this time to rest in Christ, to “look up, and lift up your heads” — to rejoice (Luke 21:28) as we see these things unfolding.
What I wish to share with you today, and a thought that has been upon my heart many weeks now, is this: we must all the more set our hearts and minds on things above. In fact, scripture directs us to do that very thing, not only because Christ may presently return, but simply because we are trusting in Him.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:1-3).
Life in Christ ought naturally, er, new-nature-ally, be lived from this perspective, the perspective of our true and new homeland, or perhaps rather since coming to Christ our newly rediscovered motherland. God created us for Himself and we find our fulfillment only in Him. Heaven is our home. Here we are as Peter writes, “strangers and pilgrims,” “sojourners,” or as one translation puts it “foreigners and exiles.” (1 Pet. 2:11-12). Essentially we are nomads… a people just passing through, visitors on our way to our true home.
The book of Hebrews states it well: “…foreigners and strangers on earth”… a people who are “looking for a country of their own… a better country—a heavenly one.” (Heb. 11:13-16). But while we are here we are also representatives, “Christ’s ambassadors,” Paul says (2 Cor. 5:20-21). We are to tell this world the gospel… they too can turn and come with us!
The fact of Christ’s imminent return and the kingdom awaiting His faithful ought to motivate and inspire our hearts during this time of global turmoil. Believers know what is going on. God is shaking this earth, but not His own. Though He may rattle some yet-clung-to sins from us, purging and purifying us through trial and conviction, we stand upon the Rock. That Rock is Christ and is the only unshakable ground.
Believers must keep that heaven-bound focus, we must steadily see Christ as Stephen did, though all around him was his destruction.
“But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’” (Acts 7:55-56).
His face, they say, was like that of an angel (6:15).