Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Hang On!

“But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
Matthew 24:13

            As believers, we know that Jesus has assured us of his return.  For example, in John 14, he tells his followers that he’s going to prepare a place for them.  And, knowing this, they could be assured that he would return for them.  He would return for them that they might be with him where he is.
            Yet, when we think of the return of Christ, when we think of the end of the end of this age, it seems rather scary.  It seems scary because of his description of the events surrounding the end.  One of the places we see this description is the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew.
            When asked by his disciples about the signs of his coming and the end of the age, he tells them that many will come in his name, claiming to be Christ, and lead many astray.  He tells them that they will hear of wars and rumors of wars.  He says that nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.  Yet, even as they see these signs being fulfilled, they should understand that the end is not yet.  In Mark’s account of these words, Jesus says that this is beginning of birth pains.
            Most of the ladies reading this know what he means.  As they come to the end of their pregnancy, they begin to experience labor pains.  Yet, even though they know the baby is coming, they have no idea how long it’ll be until the child is born.  They know that there is much more pain ahead.
The same is true for us.  When we see these signs, we know that the end is coming.  But we also know that we will experience much more hardship before it arrives.
            Jesus goes on to say that his followers will be delivered up to tribulation.  He says that they will be put to death.  He says that they’ll be hated by all nations.
            Jesus says that many will fall away.  And not only will they turn from Christ.  They will also betray one another and hate one another. 
            False prophets will arise and lead people astray.  Lawlessness will increase, and the love of many will grow cold. 
            Based on this description of the end, as well as others that we read in Scripture, it sounds absolutely terrifying.  It’s safe that, if at all possible, we’d prefer to escape these hardships.  However, as we get closer and closer to the end, we must be prepared for what is to come.
            Yet, even though the end does seem scary, it brings with it a great hope for believers.  This is what we see in the above verse.  Jesus tells us that the one who stands firm until the end will be saved.
            Even in the face of these hardships, we have the hope of his salvation.  We know that we’ll be delivered from this world of sin.  We know that we’ll be saved from this world of suffering and death.  And we know that we’ll enjoy eternity in the presence of our Lord.
            Let us, then, remain strong.  Let us remain faithful as the end approaches.  Let us endure as the signs of the end are fulfilled among us.  Let us not throw away this eternal hope to escape momentary trials.

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