October 21?

If you have never read the Book of Hebrews, you should. It’s an awesome book, full of all sorts of mind-bending truths. Maybe you’ve read Hebrews 11, the Faith Hall of Fame, as some have called it. But the rest of the book is just as amazing.

What I love about Hebrews is how it juxtaposes the differences between the two covenants, the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. The Old Testament and the New Testament. Faith before Christ and faith after Christ.

If the Old Testament seems strange, full of people who sacrifice bulls and goats and lambs . . . well. It is strange. People who followed God in the Old Testament were a peculiar people. People who follow Christ now and in the New Testament were also a little odd, but they didn’t walk around slaughtering animals in sacrifice.

In the Old Testament, people sacrificed animals as offerings for sin as an indication that they had faith God would save them. In the New Testment, people announced their faith in Christ as the Messiah as an indication that they believed God would save them. The avenues to salvation were different, but people were still saved by faith, no matter which era they lived in. And that still holds true today.

Which brings us to the verse for today, Hebrews 9:28.

28 so also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.

Christ died once. He came to Earth, lived as a human, lived a perfect life, and was killed brutally to pay for our sins. And not just the sin of one person. The sins of many people.

Many people who lived during Christ’s time on earth mistook His purpose for coming in the first place. They thought He had come to deliver them from their captivity to Rome. But Christ came to deliver them from their captivity to sin. The first time Christ came to Earth, His plan was to put the finishing touches on His incredible salvation plan. But the next time He comes, He’s not coming for sin; He’s coming for us.

Christ has already dealt with our sin. When we put our faith in Him, He forgets it, He marks it out, He casts it to the bottom of the ocean, as far away as East is from the West. If you are a follower of Christ, your sin is done, at least as far as your record goes. We’ll still sin, but Christ no longer counts it against us.

When He comes the second time, He’s coming to take us home.

And I think the end of Hebrews 9:28 is probably the understatement of the year:

“to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m so ready to blow this popsicle stand. I want to go home. I want to meet Jesus face to face. I want to live the kind of life He created me to live. I want to be reunited with my friends and my family who are already there. And I want to meet the heroes of faith who left behind so many amazing stories. I’m tired of being dragged down by sin and discouragement and the black, bleak weariness that suffuses this life.

I’m not just eagerly waiting. I’m chomping at the bit.

That being said, though, the other half of my heart is glad that He hasn’t come back yet. There are still so many people who don’t believe. And I hope they will realize soon that time is running out . . . . although, you can be very sure that it won’t run out on October 21.

Temporary

It’s very easy to get caught up in life, I think. We live life every day, and sometimes I think we forget that this life is temporary. I know I forget it often. I am so busy with everything that I do in life — my work, my family, my friends, my hobbies — that I forget that not much of it is going to last.  I touched on this in a previous devotional, about how only the things we do for Christ will last in eternity. But this morning, the verse of the day takes it a step further.

16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died[a] will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.

Our entire lives on earth are temporary. Think about that. Every detail of our lives will eventually fade away and the person who we actually are will live on still, either in heaven with God or in hell.

We’ve been talking about the second coming for so long. And I’m not talking about people like this Camper guy who claims to know when Christ is coming back. The Bible says no one knows the day of Christ’s return — not even Him. Only God knows that. So the one thing you can be certain of is that when someone stands up and says they know when the rapture will happen, you can trust that it won’t be the day they’re claiming.

But Christ is coming. He promised He would, and He always keeps His promises.

So we need to remember that our lives on Earth aren’t going to last forever. We need to remember that the things we are able to see are the things that will pass away. It’s the things we can’t see that will last forever. The things we can’t see (like Love) are eternal.

So on this Tuesday after a holiday weekend, as I dive back into the corporate world, I am going to do my best to remember that the trials and struggles I encounter aren’t going to last forever. And I’m also going to try to remember that my successes and accomplishments also are only temporary (unless I did them for God . . . and then they’ll last forever). My focus needs to be on the life that is coming. And if I can do that — if I can keep my focus on the life that is ahead of us — it makes this temporary life easier to bear, because I understand that my life down here is just preparing me for what’s coming ahead.