The end of the world. With all of the attention given to the end of the world in TV and Movieland, you would think that there is a set of rules somewhere that God has to follow to bring about the end of the world. We even have people claiming to be Christian ministers who are trying to set the date for the end to come. Some look forward to that day. They expect vindication and justification. They’re glad that all those “other” people will get what’s coming to them. All those other people look at Christians and think the same thing. I don’t know anyone who thinks that the end of the world will destroy them because most of us think of ourselves as pretty good people – we aren’t like those other guys.
In all the discussion about the end of the world, we seem to forget the most important issue facing us. In view of the fact that the world will end, perhaps soon, how should we be living? Should we, as some have done, sell all that we have and head to the nearest mountaintop to await the return of Jesus? Maybe we should have an “End of the World” party modeled after the so-called Hurricane Parties people have waiting for the hurricane to hit. Probably not. The idea seems to be just as bad, if not worse than a hurricane party. Peter discusses the end of the world and the patience of God in allowing others to come to know Christ. Then, he explains why he did that. “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you wait eagerly for the day of God to come.” (2 Peter 3:11-12a)
One of the bits of knowledge missing in the earlier discussion was the exact day of the end of the world. There’s a good reason for that. We don’t know when Jesus is coming again; we just know that He is coming again. If we knew when He was coming again, if we knew when the end of the world was going to be, we might do foolish things like going out to meet Jesus or having those parties. I believe that we don’t know specifically because we have an important responsibility: we are to proclaim the gospel to others. God is waiting to give more people a chance to turn to Him and accept His mercy. God’s grace is available to all who turn to Him and He desires that people have enough time to come to know Him through His grace. This is why Peter admonishes us to live holy and godly lives while we are waiting for the return of Jesus Christ. People not only need to know that they can have a relationship with God, they also need to see others living it successfully through the difficulties of life. When people look at us, they should see how God’s grace and mercy have molded us into His image.
In truth, my world ended when I accepted God’s grace. In place of my world I entered into the Kingdom of God. I am not perfect, of course, nor is anyone I know on this earth. So when you see me, you see not the perfect Christian, but a Christian who is struggling through the difficulties of life one step at a time by the mercy and grace of God. I seek, by God’s grace to live a holy and godly life that will draw others to Christ. When I write these devotionals, I seek to show you the grace and mercy of the God who loves me and gave His life for me. Whether I go to meet the Lord or He returns before I die, I hope and I pray that each day I am on this earth I will lead others towards Jesus.
Oh Lord, it is so easy to get caught up in speculation about Your return. Remind me that I have the responsibility to live a godly and holy life right now, and that my life should show others Your great grace and mercy.