08.03.12 - Due dates as they relate to Christ's return...

Please begin with prayer for an open heart, before you read the passage below. 2 Peter 3:8-13 - But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.[a] 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.[b] That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

This passage made me think of the pregnancies and due dates of our two children.  It seems to me that a very small percentage of babies are actually born on their due date and neither of our two children were on the exact due date.  With our first, the doctor actually changed the due date multiple times and when Liz was in labor, the doc told us that Liz was multiple days past our due date, which was news to us.  We have learned that they are just an approximation of when the baby is going to come.  I have heard the Lord’s returning equated to childbirth and there are only two things we know for sure from Scripture about His return---1) You know that it’s going to happen and 2) you don’t know when it’s going to happen!  Christians get so consumed with the ‘End Times’ and everything happening across the globe supposedly tells us that Christ is returning any day.  People have incorrectly predicted His return for hundreds of years.  Honestly, we just don’t know when, but that doesn’t mean we should not be prepared.

In having some birthing classes with my wife, they give us all these signs of what to look for regarding the stages of labor and when to actually call the doc and go to the hospital.  We tried to pay attention to these as much as possible without getting freaked out by not knowing exactly when or thinking every pain or movement was the baby coming out.  As our due dates approached, we began to pay more and more attention to how my wife’s body was responding and it drastically altered how we lived.  We had bags backed with all the necessities, the baby’s room was all prepped, we changed what we did with our time, and we tried to get as much rest as possible.  They were not just ordinary days!

The people surrounding the early church were mocking the potential of Christ’s return and the fact that it hadn’t happened yet (read the beginning of Ch. 3).  Peter is responding and encouraging believers in the face of these mockers.  He is telling us that He is returning and that it should impact our actions, just like the arrival of a baby! 

Honestly, I rarely live with the day of judgment at the front of my mind and it rarely alters how I live out my days.  Peter tells us it should give us hope that what’s around us is not the final say.  It should motivate us to reach out, share our faith in the face of persecution and persevere until the end.  Christ’s return will ‘come like a thief’ and we should always be prepared!  Peter tells us in V.11---‘You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.’  The day of judgment impacts how we live now.

Finally, V.9 is a favorite verse for me---‘He is patient with you not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.’  What a gracious God we have!  We realize the grace He has shown over hundreds and thousands of years (our time) and His desire is that people would turn and know Him.  It’s a privilege to play a part in His plan as salt and light, proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

So, brothers and sisters, we remain prepared, we remain hopeful in the face of persecution, we live holy lives, we share our faith and we look forward to the Day our Lord returns!  We live intently in the present age, but have great hope and joy for the age to come!

Does the day of judgment bring you fear or excitement?  Does Christ’s return impact how you live right now?  Why or why not?  I would love to hear your thoughts on the passage and how it grabbed your attention.