Soon Return of Christ: “to bring salvation?”
There is a passage regarding Christ’s return which may puzzle some believers — Well, I guess when it comes to Christ’s return there are many puzzling passages! — But the one I have in mind is found in Hebrews:
“Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.” (Heb. 9:28 – NIV).
At least, that’s now my NIV translation has it. Depending on the version you use the passage may read “unto salvation…”, “to bring salvation…”, “for salvation…”, “to save everyone…”, “to bring them to full salvation…”, “to save those…” or some other rendition.
“Wh… Wait, — What?” someone might interject. “I thought I received salvation the day I made Christ my Lord!? What does this mean, ‘…He will appear a second time… to bring salvation?’ Am I not saved now?”
Well yes, if you have turned from sin and embraced Christ by faith recognizing He alone is the atonement for your sin and have made Him your Lord to obey, then yes, you are now most certainly “saved.” Yet, there is a sense in which you have not yet “received your salvation.”
Picture it like this. You are drowning in a fog-dense sea. You splash desperately trying to stay afloat but it’s a losing battle. Suddenly, from behind, out of the mist, someone tosses you a life-saver! Help has arrived! You are saved! You clutch tightly to the life-saver as others pull it through the fog toward the waiting ship. On board you rejoice! You are delivered forever from the raging sea!
Let me ask you this: at what point were you “saved?”
You were “saved” the moment you grabbed hold of the life-saver, placing your full confidence in it alone to save you. In that instant you demonstrated that you knew you were incapable of saving yourself, realized only the life-saver could, and relied fully upon it for your deliverance. You had not yet arrived on the ship, but the happy outcome was assured. Once onboard it could be said that now, at last, you had “received your salvation.”
When Christ returns it will not be to bring any additional atonement. That was all completed at the cross. Now He comes to collect His own and to bring judgment upon the world.
Paul, in writing to Titus, says this: “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. … we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ…” (Titus 2:11-14).
Grab hold of Christ and you are most certainly saved. — And THIS Life-Saver also grabs hold of you!
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