The Delay and the Judgment‏

Posted on January 18, 2013

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christ huggingAuthor: Andrew Kerbs

Just the other day I had a coworker ask me, “How are you so certain Christ is coming back soon? People have been saying that for centuries.”

I assured him that part of it was faith, but the other part we know by listening to the words of Christ. In Matthew 24, Christ gives a detailed narrative of what conditions in this world will look like before His return. Nevertheless, there has been a delay. First of all, we should realize that a delay is strictly a matter of perspective. To God, He has not delayed. He has known since the foundation of the world when He would return and nothing has changed that. To us on earth, we get impatient, distressed, and confused as we buy a new calendar for the New Year and realize just how many years have passed since 1844.

A challenge often hurled against the sanctuary doctrine is this. Why would God need to look through the books so carefully? Surely, He already knows whose hearts are for Him. Of course, He knows.

This led me to thinking, which led me to a powerful realization. Why are we still lingering on this earth in 2013, 169 years after Christ entered the Holy of Holies?  Is it because Christ is a slow reader? Or is it because of us?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those theorists who say we literally control the time of Christ’s return by our human actions, for good or for evil. I am saying that this proves the fundamental principle behind the sanctuary—as well as the cross—is grace!

We get these warped ideas somehow that this “judgment” (vindication really!) is all about damnation, yet we forget that Christ, our Savior, is our Advocate, not our accuser.

The delay was a designed provision from God to give fallen man extra time to come around. He won’t force us, but He is waiting, yearning, fervently desiring that we come to ourselves, as did the prodigal, and come home.

God is in the business of saving souls. He’s waiting because He desperately wants His children to come back to Him. He knows many won’t. But what’s another decade if a couple more choose eternity?

When I take this perspective, how can I possibly say the sanctuary and the judgment are anything but grace-centered? Where is the condemnation in the eyes of the waiting Father? Where is the wrath in Christ our Advocate? It’s still on Calvary where it will ever remain.

True, the end will eventually come, and those who have chosen to depart from God will do so. That is the sadness in the beauty of grace—God granting free will even though it breaks His heart to do so.

To paraphrase C. S. Lewis, at the end of time, there will be two groups of people in this world. The one will say to God, “Thy will be done.” To the other group God looks upon sadly and says, “Alright, have it your way.”

Which group are we a part of? If the latter, it is not too late to come boldly before the throne of grace. It is not too late to be given a new heart and a steadfast spirit. If anyone hears His voice—answer it.