|By: Dr. John Ankerberg; ©1996|
|Bible Prophecy Questions Answered by Leading Christian Scholars.|
Dr. John Ankerberg: The Bible says, "Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself just as He is pure" (1 John 3:3). The Bible says, "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world, looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works" (Titus 2:11-15). How does "looking for that blessed hope" affect our everyday life? Let me see if I can illustrate this. A mother taught her two little boys that Jesus could come back to earth any minute and rapture us to be with Him in Heaven. She noticed that the next week the cookies in the cookie jar weren’t disappearing as usual. And so she asked one of her sons, "Why is it that you aren’t taking the cookies out of the cookie jar and eating them like you usually do?" Her son said, "Mamma, we didn’t want Jesus to come back and to catch us doing something wrong."
That’s why the Apostle John says, "Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself just as He is pure."
But Christ’s imminent return is also to comfort us. The Apostle Paul teaches, "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 [that is, raptured] with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord." Then Paul says, "Wherefore, comfort one another with these words." This world is not our final home. We’re traveling toward heaven. As Jesus said in John 14:1,2, "Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there you may be also."
1 Thessalonians 5:9 says, "For God hath not appointed us to wrath but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."