Practical Uses of the Lord's Coming

[Ed. note—Many Christians today belittle the return of Jesus Christ as an unimportant or peripheral doctrine that is too difficult to understand and of little consequence to the daily life of the believer. Nothing could be further from the truth! And yet, this mindset is nothing new to the twenty-first century. The following brief study was written by E. P. Marvin and published in the February 1911 issue of Grace and Truth].

Some of God’s dear people tell us that they see no interest or practical use in the doctrine of the Lord's coming; that it is involved in mystery, and we can know but little about it; that death is the Lord's coming to the individual, and that the doctrine paralyzes missionary effort.

I will present, therefore, a Bible study, showing that it is connected with every doctrine and duty of our holy religion, and that it is used by Christ and the Apostles for every practical purpose of Christian character and life. Christ speaks of baptism thirteen times, and of His second coming forty times. If I were to present death as a ground of appeal, I could find but two or three passages in all the New Testament, and not one direct exhortation for a believer to watch for the uncertain event of death, but upon this theme I have more than three hundred passages from which to select. I will pre­sent seven groups for careful and prayerful study.

  1. We are exhorted by the Lord's coming to assurance, brotherly love, heavenly affection, and boldness in confessing Christ (Philippians 1:6; 2 Timothy 1:12; Revelation3:3,11; Philippians 3:18, 20; Hebrews 13:13, 14; Mark 8:38; Luke 22:8, 9).
  2. We are taught and exhorted to be watchful, sober, patient under provocation, and on guard against hasty and unjust judgment (1 Peter 1:13; 4:7; Philippians 1:10; 4:5; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 6:1-13; James 5:9).
  3. To be pure and holy in heart, separated and con­secrated, abiding closely in Christ (1 John 2:28; 3:1-3; Colossians 3:1-4; 1 Thessalonians 3:12, 13; 5:23; Titus 2:11-15; 2 Timothy 4:8, 10).
  4. To endure temptation, rejection, persecution, and all earthly losses, with fortitude and cheerfulness (1 Peter 4:12, 13; John 14:1-3; Hebrews 10:34-37; Luke 12:32-36; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10; 2 Corinthians 4:17).
  5. To be comforted in bereavements and afflictions by the hope of the resurrection, reunion, and glory (John 16:22; 17:24; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; Revelation 20:6; 2 Thessalonians 3:5; Matthew 13:43; 19:27, 28).
  6. To be faithful and diligent in service regardless of the fear or favor of men; full of missionary zeal; to arouse the consciences of impenitent men by appeals to "that day." (See about one-half of all the parables) (Matthew 16:26, 27; 24:48-51; 2 Timothy 4:1, 2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-10; 1 Corinthians 16:22; Jude 14, 15).
  7. To regard this as the supreme and impending event of unfulfilled prophecy, to teach these things, to live under the wonderful power of this expectancy; and to celebrate the Lord's Supper as witnesses of this blessed hope (Revelation 1:7; Titus 2:15; Hebrews 10:35-37; 1 Thessalonians 1:9, 10; 2 Timothy 4:7, 8; 1 Co­rinthians 11:22).

"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, con­cerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord him­self shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18