The Second Coming of Christ

Luke 12:34‑45  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 6
The coming of the Lord does not present itself, when we think of it rightly, as a thing we learn; but I see in Scripture that it is constantly identified with all the feelings and character of a Christian, "as men that wait for their lord." It does not say, "As men that believe in the Lord's coming." The feeling of those who had grown cold was not that the Lord would not come, but that He delayed His coming (v. 45). Now in the beginning of 1 Thessalonians they were converted to wait for God's Son from heaven. He was a living, personal reality to them. There is a great deal more in the passage, but that is the first thing—they were converted for that. Expecting Him is the state that becomes a Christian. I do not say there is no other motive, for the blessed love He has shown in His death would lead us to follow Him too; but still the Christian is a person between Christ's first coming to save him, and His second coming to take him out of this scene; and what characterizes him (if lie acts on the Word of God) is, that he is waiting for Christ.
It is described in detail in Luke 12. You first get the "watching," and then "doing," while He is away; that is, serving Him. Those who are watching (v. 37), with their hearts upon Himself, He makes sit down to meat (a figure, of course), and He girds Himself and serves them. But when you come to doing (v. 43), then it is He makes them rulers over all that He hath. You first get the blessedness of heaven (v. 37), and then joint heirs with Him (v. 44)—two distinct things—one watching for Him, and the other, doing. You see the Christian knows (if he has really gotten into his place) that he is a person in whom the Holy Ghost dwells, who is the seal to us of the full efficacy of Christ's work on the cross (and our part in it too), and waiting for Christ to come, which will put us into possession of the inheritance. Christ enters into possession not of all things in the inheritance yet, but He is sitting on the Father's throne till the joint heirs are gathered, and then He will put them into glory.
The thing I find most precious in the coming of the Lord is, that the Person of the Lord becomes so prominent. It makes Him more precious. He is coming to take me to be with Himself. It is the Person who is the object of our affections as Christians. But it will be a grand thing when we are with Him, and of course we cannot be separated. It is not our glory that is the great satisfaction, but being with Him. It sets Christ personally as the One before our eyes.
There is another thing it does. This expecting Him every moment detaches us from the world; the life of every Christian would be changed—all thoughts and plans gone. There are two things needed in order to look for the Lord in that way—peace with God, and love enough for Him to care for His coming. Of course we must have peace with God to be able to look for His coming, but it hangs a great deal on the affection of heart for Christ. "Unto you... which believe He is precious." It is wonderful how distinctly Scripture makes being with Christ the thing to hope for. It exercises the conscience also, because if I am looking for the Lord, evidently it will keep my conscience awake, lest I should have anything that will produce a jar in my own heart when He does come.
It is a striking thing as regards the present expectation, that in all the parables, whether it be Christ Himself speaking or the apostles by the Holy Ghost, it never supposes beforehand that His coming is beyond the life of the people He is speaking to. It is the present expectation. The virgins that slept were the same that woke. Those who received the talents were the same reckoned with. He would never present to them beforehand a thing that was beyond present expectation. It is evident we should like to be found, whether absent or present, agreeable to Him when He does come. It gives Christ the place. We are poor things; but if we heard Him saying, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant," what a thing it would be to us!
There is a little more than waiting in this chapter. "Loins... girded about." The flowing garments were to be tucked up, not loose, in going on with things as they are in the world, but hearts in order, according to the Word of God—"loins girt about with truth," and then "lights burning"—a full profession of Christ.
There is another thing quite distinct, a very blessed, touching expression of the Lord's love. Here we have to have our loins girded (our hearts in order); but that is now when the Lord is not yet come, but is sitting on the Father's throne; but then "He shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them." He says, "You won't have to have your loins girded when you come into My house. I shall make you sit down to meat, and serve you." He will make us sit down and feed upon the things that are in heaven at the table there, and He will minister the blessings to us—infinitely more precious. Not merely the giving us things to eat, but Christ Himself ministering them to us. In that sense Christ never gives up the form of a servant; and when we think that Christ the Son of God takes this place, and has taken it, and never gives it up, what a wonderful thing!
"Blessed are those servants," etc. v. 37. He will make them enjoy themselves, for His satisfaction is to make them happy. We do not enough believe in Christ's heart toward us, and we have not enough heart for Him either. He values our affections: "Ye are they which have continued with Me in My temptations." What a Savior He is! It is constant expectation—not waiting merely, but watching. The second part is doing (v. 43)—in a certain sense an inferior part. He has entrusted us with talents, perhaps it may be giving "a cup of cold water"; but it is, "Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing." The Lord has committed a service to all. Take an apostle—of course he is entirely given up to service, or it may come down to the giving of a cup of cold water. The reward is not sitting down and enjoying heaven here, but it is the kingdom, or more than the kingdom. The Father has set Christ over all the works of His hands, and He makes us joint heirs. But it is much more blessed to be with God Himself and enjoy Him than to be heir with
Christ, though, of course, that is a wonderful thing. It is especially in the kingdom that the ruling takes place; afterward Christ will give up the kingdom to the Father. There will then be no need for power to be reducing a kingdom to order, for it will all be done.