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Waiting for His Appearing, with Faith

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Hebrews 9:26-28
26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

It has been some 2000 years since our Lord ascended into heaven to take His rightful place at the right hand of God the Father. The wait has certainly been long, has it not? As we have been studying in the book of Revelation, the time between our Savior’s first coming and His second coming can be defined as a time of “waiting.” And in the waiting, many in every generation since have despaired of His coming and become like the five foolish virgins who were not prepared for His return (Matthew 25:1-13). What is it that keeps us waiting? What is it that gives us hope and confidence in the midst of these days when so many have exchanged the hope of the glory of the coming Christ for some vague “spirituality” that cannot save? Is it not the following, but very simple confession?

Christ died for us;
Christ is interceding for us before the Father;
Christ will return again for us.

By faith, we believe that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins upon the cross; that God poured out His wrath against us upon Him. Through His blood shed on the cross, we know the forgiveness of our sins. Why? Not simply because Christ died for us, but also because Christ took that blood, His own blood, and brought it before the Father on our behalf — He not only died for us, He is interceding for us. He is actually applying that gracious work to us — day by day as we wait for Him to return. This is how that great theologian, John Owen puts it:

The main foundation of all the confidence and assurance whereof in this life we may be made partakers (which amounts to ‘joy unspeakable and full of glory’) ariseth from this strict connection of the sacrifice and intercession of Jesus Christ; —that by the one He hath procured all good things for us, and by the other He will procure them to be actually bestowed, whereby He doth never leave our sins, but follows them into every court, until they be fully pardoned and clearly expiated. He will never leave us until He hath saved to the uttermost them that come unto God by Him. (John Owen, The Death Of Death In The Death Of Christ, p. 74)

So how are we to wait? By faith! This is how Hebrews 10 ends:

23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

37 For,

“Yet a little while,
and the coming one will come and will not delay;
38 but my righteous one shall live by faith,
and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”

39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

So let us gather this Lord’s Day around that holy table, giving thanks to God for this One Who died for us. Let us prepare our hearts that we might feed upon Christ, by faith. And may He, Who faithfully intercedes for us even now, be gracious to increase and strengthen our faith in these “days of waiting”. For in Him, and in Him alone, do we find our one true hope! “Our sins dare not appear, nor any of our accusers against us, where He appeareth for us” (John Owen). Even so, come Lord Jesus!

In the Name of Christ, Who is and Who was and Who is to come,
Pastor Ted Trefsgar

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