Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of October 22, 2006

Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

I enjoy sleeping. Sleeping is good if it isn’t done at the wrong time and if it isn’t used to escape the realities of life including the need to work.

From a spiritual standpoint, it is possible to be sleeping when we should be awake. We are in good company when that happens since Peter, James and John slept when the Lord was transfigured, and they slept when the Lord was agonizing in the Garden. Peter must have been a good sleeper since he was also able to sleep when he was in prison in Acts 12:6. Most of us would likely have been awake in that prison. Perhaps he could sleep because the Lord had told him that he would die when he was old on a cross (John 21:18-19) and not by a sword as had been the case with James. Depending on God’s promises can bring a wonderful sense of peace.

However, if the early new testament church was sleeping, then what about us today? It has been nearly 2000 years since the Lord told His disciples that if He went away, He would come again (John 14:3). This truth has been the hope of the church since the Lord was taken up into heaven. It has motivated the church to work in such a way that we might not be ashamed at his coming (1 John 2:28). But today, many are trying to explain away the literal coming of the Lord to save us from coming judgment on this earth. When the Lord says our salvation is nearer than when we believed, He is not referring to salvation from the penalty of sin that we obtain upon believing in the work of Christ when He became the sacrifice for our sins. No, He is referring to our being saved from coming judgment. And judgment is coming. I wonder if we really believe that.

Wars in the middle east are predicted as part of the judgment that occurs on earth before the Lord sets up His literal kingdom that will last for 1000 years. So when wars start or when earthquakes and natural disasters occur as predicted in Matthew 24, we tend to get excited for a little while. And then we sink back into our comfortable recliners and go back to sleep. The church seems to be asking, “Where is the promise of His coming (2 Peter 3:4)?” This was supposed to be the question of unbelievers. I have always believed that the Lord could return at any time for the church, but now we are being taught that the church has to go through some of the predicted events of the tribulation period. That means that we don’t have to stand ready for His return because it cannot occur until after some of the prophetic events of the book of the Revelation are fulfilled. Of course, I still believe that the Lord could return at any moment.

We need to take heed to the warning that was given nearly 2000 years ago. Otherwise, our churches may be well attended after the Lord’s return with those who were not prepared. And while all who miss out on God’s salvation will have only themselves to blame, yet some of these people may sit in our church pews and never be warned because we don‘t really believe in the truth that the Lord could return momentarily! It is unlikely that the unsaved are going to get prepared for the Lord’s return if we who claim to be saved are sleeping when we should be awake.

Bruce Collins

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