Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing. -2 Timothy 4:8
A little over a month ago, we celebrated the first coming of Jesus to earth. As believers, the Christmas season is quite exciting, but we mostly celebrate a baby. A sweet baby Jesus born in a manger. He coming was meek and lowly, it probably wouldn't make the evening news in our world today. Here's a question that Elyse pondered in today's reading, "Because of how Jesus came to earth the first time, do people think He will come again the same way?"
My pastor preached on Revelation 19:11-21 this past Sunday night, so the message is fresh in my mind. Go check out the passage. I know the world did not expect a baby born in a manger the first time our Savior entered the world. I can only expect that the heavens being opened and a Rider on a white horse will take most of our world by surprise as well. "For some, His return will be a terrifying introduction into an even more horrifying eternity." The truth of Revelation 6:15-17 will come to pass, "Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” "Smug unbelief would be instantaneously transformed into terrifying understanding."
What would be your response? How should a believer respond as we think about this? (I personally believe the church will have been raptured before this time, but this is not about my eschatology.) Think about those who experience the Rider on the white horse, they won't love His appearing; they will hate it. The Bible tells me that I will love His appearing. Why? Because of the Gospel of grace. Over and over again, the Bible tells me how God has given me His righteousness. He replaced my sinfulness with His righteousness. Trusting in His righteousness comes by faith alone, faith that God grants! Are you trusting in that today? I rejoice that I will love His appearing because of what He did. I end today with one of my favorite "non-Scripture paragraphs" that is deep with the truths from Scripture. It sums up what I have seen as I have read in Comforts from the Cross. The words are quite beautiful...
"He himself took on Him the burden of our iniquities, He gave His own Son as a ransom for us, the holy One for transgressors, the blameless One for the wicked, the righteous One for the unrighteous, the incorruptible One for the corruptible, the immortal One for them that are mortal. For what other thing was capable of covering our sins than His righteousness? By what other one was it possible that we, the wicked and ungodly, could be justified, than by the only Son of God? O sweet exchange! O unsearchable operation! O benefits surpassing all expectation! that the wickedness of many should be hid in a single righteous One, and that the righteousness of One should justify many transgressors!"
From The Letter to Diognetus, chapter 9.
O Sweet Exchange- my wickedness for a Crown of Righteousness!