Well, Christmas has come and gone here in Japan. I hope you enjoyed yours as much as I did mine.
As I read this passage though, it strikes me that there is still a Christmas we are yet waiting for.
The first Christmas marked Jesus’ first coming. And Jesus came to bear our sins on the cross. To take the punishment that we deserved that our sins might be forgiven. But Paul tells us here that Jesus is coming again. But this time, he will be coming for judgment. Paul said,
For he has set a day when [God] will judge the world with justice by [Jesus whom] he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead. (31)
To those who rejected him will come condemnation for all eternity. But to those who have received him as Lord, their ultimate salvation from this fallen, broken world will come, and all things will be made new. The writer of Hebrews puts it this way:
Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27-28).
The question is, are you ready? There is only one way to be ready. Paul told the Athenians and us,
Now [God] commands all people everywhere to repent. (30)
To repent means to turn around. To stop going your own way and to start going God’s way. To stop putting your trust in yourself, and start putting it in Jesus Christ.
And if you do, you will be ready when “Christmas” truly rolls around again.
Are you ready?