Spiritual Devotion

How Can We be Ready for the Second Coming of Christ?

There are various prophecies in the Bible by which Christians are encouraged to be vigilant and ready for the sudden coming of the heavenly Bridegroom. These instructions and admonitions should be taken seriously, as there are so many things that can divert the attention of a believer from his calling as a servant of Christ, who should be able to boldly give an account of his life when his Master returns at an unexpected hour. On that day He will catch away His bride to her heavenly abode, and then it will be too late to prepare for His coming and to rearrange your priorities in life. The following is one of the many calls to be found alert, dedicated and faithful on the day of the second coming:

“Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming – in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning – lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” (Mark 13:33-37).

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Faith and Repentance

In the New Testament doctrine on salvation there is a mutual relationship between the concepts of “faith in Christ” and “repentance”. If we truly believe in Christ, repenting from our evil and selfish ways is inevitable. If we fail to recognise the close association between these two aspects of our salvation, giving due recognition to each of them, we are at risk of undermining and distorting the foundations of our spiritual life. Such people may even end up only having a form of godliness because of their biased thinking. Faith in Jesus Christ as our Saviour can only be expressed by turning away from the spiritual darkness of sin and taking refuge in Him who alone is able to forgive our sins and save our souls. He is the light of the world, in Him is life everlasting, and repenting is the way towards approaching Him and becoming a member of His spiritual body on earth (the true church consisting of all born again believers).

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Choices Which Everyone Should Make in Life

God created man as an intelligent being with a free will. In determining the course of his life, man does not act instinctively as he is not a robot that has been programmed to react in a predetermined way in any given situation. Intelligible facts are presented to him on what is right and wrong, thereby enabling him to discern between good and evil, and to decide for himself which beliefs and moral principles he wishes to observe in life. Although his choices are free and uncompelled, man is not free form the consequences of his decisions; and for that reason the Lord clearly indicates in His Word what is the the final destination of different ways of living that people choose. The Lord wishes people to make informed choices, thereby ensuring that they will not regret their beliefs and actions one day when it will be too late to turn around and follow another course.

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The Earthly Bride and her Heavenly Bridegroom

The true church of Christ is not only described as His disciples and witnesses but also as His bride. All these capacities oblige Christians to live holy and fulfil their upward call in a dedicated way. The command towards sanctification is closely related to our position as the bride of Christ. Paul writes to the church in Corinth: “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Cor. 11:2-3). We should take care that sin does not enter into our lives in the form of growing cold in our love, fleshliness, or spiritual deception. These things can only be averted if we faithfully observe our calling as members of the bridal church of Jesus Christ. Make sure that you have a testimony of both justification and sanctification.

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The End of our Earthly Race

Shortly before his death Paul summarised his spiritual journey through life, thereby effectively writing what could be considered to be his own epitaph: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2 Tim. 4:7-8).

These affirmations were part of this great apostle's farewell words to his friend, Timothy. He knew that the end of his earthly journey had come, and said without hesitation: "... the time of my departure is at hand" (2 Tim. 4:6). Shortly afterwards, Paul died as a martyr for his faith in Rome. With the boldness which only a true Christian can have, he said that he had fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith.

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Stumbling-blocks on the Way to Sanctification

Every Christian is called to a life of holiness, victory, and unimpeded service to the Lord. However, much perseverance and commitment are needed before this life will become a reality. Paul says that we should enter into a new phase of obedience in our lives, put down every obstacle and, with perseverance, pursue complete sanctification. In his own life he also yearned for the fulfilment of this promise: “I press towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14). He pursued this exalted, victorious life to embrace it with a commitment to never again to return to the precarious existence of the past.

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Doubts, Trials, and Attacks by the Enemy

Christians are often of the opinion that great men of God do not sometimes have serious doubts on God or His Word, and that their faith never falters when they are subjected to difficult tests. This perception is far removed from the truth. John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress, was severely persecuted as a Christian and also imprisoned for extended periods of time because of his doctrinal differences with the Church of England. There were even times of despair and doubt in his life because of the vicious attacks by the enemy of his soul. At the end of his book, Grace abounding to the chief of sinners, John Bunyan says:

“Of all the temptations that ever I met with in my life, to question the being of God, and the truth of His gospel, is the worst, and the worst to be borne; when this temptation comes, it takes away my girdle from me, and removeth the foundations from under me. Oh, I have often thought of that word, ‘Have your loins girt about with truth’ (Eph. 6:14); and of that, ‘When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?’ (Ps. 11:3).

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Christ as our Saviour and Advocate

Two of the most important offices in which the Lord Jesus reveals Himself to us are those of Saviour and Advocate. These relate to our initial salvation as well as our subsequent cleansing from sin, which is an ongoing process. The following are the most significant aspects connected to these two offices:

Salvation

We should have a clear understanding of our deliverance from the power of sin, and also be mindful of the fact that all sinners deserve the death penalty. The Bible says: “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Long ago, the same message of the consequences of sin was directed to Israel: “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezek. 18:4).

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Gems from the Treasury of Scripture

There are various Christian authors who discovered and described great truths when contemplating the deep significance of our life of faith. That which they have found in the heavenly treasury of God’s Word, illuminated their hearts and became indispensable guidelines in their earthly journey. It motivates them to spiritually enrich themselves by further exploring this unfathomed treasury of divine truths.

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The Requirements and Characteristics of Discipleship

The Lord Jesus came into the world to pay the ransom for the sins of lost humanity, but also to train disciples to proclaim the message of salvation to the ends of the earth. He gave His Word to us, and also sent the Holy Spirit, to equip all believers who present themselves to be used as disciples in His service. We should not be content with salvation alone and then sit back, but strive to be active followers of Christ who comply with all the biblical requirements and characteristics of discipleship. Only then will the Lord be able to use us in His service.

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