Dear friends in Christ, your redemption draweth nigh, draws near. We have certainly already been redeemed, for Christ has died and risen again for you, and you’ve been baptized into this same Christ, you’ve had all your sins washed away. Christ continues to come to you, strengthen you, and keep you in the one true saving faith, by the comfort of the holy Scriptures and the true body and blood of Christ, given and shed for the remission of all your sins. By His Spirit, He keeps you, and He will keep you until that very last day.
Christ says, that day is near, when your final redemption draws nigh. The final redemption of both our body and soul - when our body will be reunited with our soul on the last day - when we won’t have to deal with sin, or sorrow anymore, at all, for the former things will have passed away.
The powers of heaven will be shaken. The Son of God will come in all His power and glory. But it won’t be a day of fear for us. Jesus says, when that day comes, lift up your heads, that is, there will be no more cross for us to bear, no more suffering to weigh us down, our hearts and our heads. There will be no more sin, no more sorrow, but only joy forevermore. That will be the best day of our life - when Jesus will say to you, “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
But until that day, we wait. And we learned recently from the parable of the ten virgins, that our one responsibility, until that day, is to remain in God’s Word. That’s how the saving faith in us is strengthened. That’s the means through which God’s Spirit works in our hearts. We need to hear often of His forgiving grace in Christ, and that He will continue to pick us up when we fail, and enable us to carry on. He is our strength, He is our Savior, not our own strength, not our own intelligence. He keeps us. He strengthens us.
As we wait, surely we’ve noticed how much our culture, our society, loves Christmas. But often it isn’t so much about Christ, as it is about the earthly glamour, the decorating, the shopping, the present wrapping, the celebrating - so much that many just simply cannot wait for it all. We cannot finish Thanksgiving. We have to begin Christmas on Thanksgiving Day, or even before.
Our culture loves Christmas – but it isn’t so much about Christ as it is about getting my flat screen TV, and going straight for the celebrating, the living it up - getting my piece of the pie. And we have to admit, we’re not immune. Often we find our hearts are all too willing to go along.
That’s why Jesus gives us some very serious warnings. He wants our hearts to be in the right place, ready to receive Him. Watch and pray always He says. Take heed, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged (weighed down) with surfeiting (excessiveness) – with the cares of this life.
It’s not that we shouldn’t enjoy the many earthly gifts God has given. But take heed, lest your hearts become so filled with the cares of this life, that the cares about our eternal life, become only secondary, or 3 rd or 4 th or 5 th on the list of priorities.
That’s just it – this life is not guaranteed. The length of our earthly life is not guaranteed. Everyone seems to know this, but so many do not take it to heart.
Dear friends in Christ, that’s precisely why we have advent, why we don’t jump straight into the earthly celebration in this pre-Christmas season - to prepare our hearts for the last day, or our own last day, whichever comes first.
So Jesus give us signs and warnings. The heavens shall be shaken. Less than a year ago, a meteor struck earth, and injured 1700 people. It wasn’t too heavily reported because it happened on the other side of the planet, in Russia, but it happened. There are earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, that seem to have increased in number and intensity. They are gracious reminders: this life is not forever.
There are no guarantees on the length of our earthly life. That is why we cannot afford to wait until a later day to repent of our sins, and have our faith strengthened in Christ our only Savior. Tomorrow could be much too late. Today is the day.
The comfort of Christ is that no matter how great our sins may be, “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Christ says this world and everything in it will pass away. But His words will not pass away. That is why His words should be of the highest value to us, far beyond the treasures of this world. His word gives us a guarantee that extends way beyond the fading things of this world. He fulfilled all righteousness for us. He lived the perfect life for us. He went to the cross for us. He rose from the dead for us. He made us ready for the last day by washing all our sins away. We are saved by His grace, through faith. "He that believeth on Him is not condemned." He is our complete Savior.
So we cling to His promise because nothing else can give us the assurance of life beyond this fading world.
“Your redemption draws nigh.” We should enjoy the things of this life. But by God’s grace, we remember: what causes you to endure forever, is not these earthly things, but God’s Word alone, through faith alone, through God’s Spirit alone. He will continue to keep us and strengthen us through these means of grace, making us ready for that very last day. “Your redemption draws nigh.”