This is 2016, January is gone, wow, just like yesterday; we were wishing friends and loved ones “Happy New Year”. Now we are at end of the first quarter of the year, how time kept moving and working. This is the reason why Augustine of Hippo said time never takes time off. This time that never takes time off is what Matthew Arnold referred to as “a daily miracle “and Benjamin Franklin, in Poor Richard’s Almanac, mused, “Don’t squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.”
Various proverbs and maxims have spoken of time as impossible to recall, to retrieve. The Christian should treasure every second of time, savoring the moments for the glory of his Lord. These “few precious days,” to quote a phrase from a song, are but a prelude to eternity.
This is reminding us the insight of the wise man that states that time is designed for a purpose. The working of time in the right perceptive is for the fulfillment of God’s assignment for every individual in the world. Each life’s duration is calculated on the time allotted to it by the designer. The profitability or the loss of life is dependent on how much you fulfill or neglect God’s assignment for your life. If we are going to account for our lives then we must be prepared to understand first, why we are created, secondarily the means to fulfilling God’s will for our life and finally the consequences of our choice.
Why are we created? We are created for perfecting the entire creature. Till God made man, the work of creation was not complete. No wonder the Preacher declared in Ecc. 3:14 I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him. This resonates with our faith in the sense that when God looked at His works after the creation of man; He declared all was good. Man was created as the epoch of His work and image. Man is the glory of God’s creation.
This did not go well with the chief enemy of God; Satan, as soon as he saw that man was bearing the image of God he became enraged and went after man to destroy. His major goal was to destroy the relationship between man and his Creator through distrust. Paul noted this when he said that through one, sin entered into the world and by this sin became the epidemic plaque of the entire creation.
Heaven never left man in this sin deplorable condition but responded almost immediately by sending the redemptive purpose of God into the world. Man is created with eternity in mind; this is the reason for the fear of the unknown especially at the point of death. The scripture says God put eternity in the heart of man. Jesus reiterating this; He declared to the entire world that the thief came to steal, kill and destroy. He emphatically told us that He came that all may have life and have it abundantly. The work of grace is the only way out because if man is not aided, he cannot discern how God’s Spirit works. This is what Jesus meant when He said: “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.
If the redemptive purpose of God is rejected, there is nothing to be done but to face the stern consequence of choice in our lifetime. This is the reason why God will call into account all the past of men. As we must understand all shall give the account of his works to God. The Preacher said in Ecc. 3:16-17 “Moreover I saw under the sun: In the place of judgment, wickedness was there; and in the place of righteousness, iniquity was there. I said in my heart, ‘God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work’ There is no recourse for those who finally reject the way of salvation.
This is the day of grace, and when it is over nothing but judgment waits the unbelieving and impenitent. This is why the gospel reminds us that “now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation”. This is our whole duty in this time that never takes time off.
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:28
We are in the last days. Many startling and unsettling prophecies which are to be accomplished only in the last days are being fulfilled in our very eyes! Every sign that is stated in 2 Timothy 3:1–5 is pointing to our days today. Currently, the world is strongly inclined to pleasure-seeking. Ours is a covetous age where people clamor for the latest and the best things. There is intense desire for earthly pursuits at the expense of heavenly riches. Pride is mostly cherished as the approved way of life, while churches are full of unconverted, unholy people, who have turned the grace of God into liberty to sin. Moral depravity has reached a level in which we are like the sin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah that God destroyed with fire and brimstone (2 Peter 2: 4–10) around 2066 BC. There is profound spiritual lethargy and indifference like in the days of Noah, just as there are deceptions, false christs, wars and rumors of wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes and escalating iniquities (Matthew 24).
The Rapture–the catching up of all true believers in Christ to meet the Lord in the air–could take place any moment from now (I Thessalonians 4:16 – 17). The Rapture is the present expectation of the saints in Christ. It is the greatest event in the program of God for the Church age. The time of the Rapture is unknown, but the event is certain. The Lord Jesus Christ will surely come because His coming is firmly established in God’s program (Hebrews 10:37). God is not going to change His program for us; it is our responsibility to be prepared so that if He comes in 2016, we will be ready.
Our salvation is not cheap: it costs God’s only begotten Son dying a shameful death in the hands of sinners. Jesus became “Man of sorrows” (Isaiah 53:3, 6), so we could escape the impending judgement of God. It will be eternally costly for anyone to miss the Rapture! As we enter 2016, we need to include preparation for the coming of the Lord in our plans. The Lord is not slack concerning his promised return, so we cannot afford to be negligent (2 Peter 3: 9–10). How shall we escape the terrible suffering coming ahead, if we neglect so great salvation? (Hebrews 2:3). We cannot afford to leave eternity out of our plans and lifestyles in 2016.
So how do we prepare seeing that the Rapture is very imminent and could happen unannounced? Preparation begins with personal soul searching. 2 Corinthians 13:5 says “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” And if we find ourselves wanting of righteousness required by God, then we are to turn again to the Lord, Jesus Christ in sincere repentance (Lamentations 3:40). We must come out of the corrupting influence of Sodom (2 Corinthians 6:17). After returning to Christ, we must make a conscious effort to abide in Him. We must live in expectation of His return. Remaining steadfast in Christ is crucial. In Acts 27:31, during the sea voyage from Caesarea to Rome, Paul counseled the centurion and the soldiers, “Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.” During the time of Noah, entering into, and abiding in the Ark was the only means of salvation from the destructive flood (Genesis 7:11–23). In John 15:4, the Lord stresses the importance of walking intimately with, and abiding in Him. Abiding in Christ helps us to be holy, spotless, watchful, and prayerful. We must not be preoccupied with the affairs of this life to the detriment of our souls. Lastly, we must be involved in serving Him day by day and preaching the gospel of Christ to others. In the words of Elisha Hoffman (1900), “We cannot be perfectly blest, until all on the altar we lay.”
The Year 2016 would be more purposeful if we incorporate readiness for Christ’s return in our plans. How sweet will it be for Jesus to find us watching anytime the Rapture takes place? I pray that He will give us the grace to be fully prepared for His glorious coming (Amos 4:12).