Saturday, 3 May 2008

Waiting for salvation

When did you first believe? Maybe last week; maybe many decades.

Whenever you first believed, if you're reading this post then you haven't yet received what you were promised. I haven't got a resurrection body, I'm not purged of all sin and I'm not perfectly enjoying God in Christ to all eternity. On the day I believed, I began waiting; and I'm still waiting now. I'll be waiting until the day I die or the Lord returns.

Waiting is one of the defining characteristics of the Christian life. Unless we start to love this present world too much, we often find ourselves wondering, why am I still here? Why doesn't the Lord take me away?

Surely the Lord has his reasons, but that's not our point right now. The point is to show that the Bible commends waiting with patience as a necessary Christian experience and virtue. The feeling of longing to be home, but knowing that there may be much time yet, is not one unknown to the Biblical writers.

And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. - 2 Thessalonians 3:5

... you lack no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ - 1 Corinthians 1:7

And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved in hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.- Romans 8:23-5

For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. - Galatians 5:5

For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. - 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10
Christians are waiting - it's what they do. Is it difficult? Yes. But what else can we do? To whom else shall we go? Let us wait, developing patience, until the day when waiting will be no more. Often the last thing I say before going to sleep at night is a line from a hymn: "a day's march nearer home". It reminds me that whilst we wait, the wait is finite, and 24 hours have been removed from it each time the lights go off.

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