The Second Coming and the Snooze Button

Snooze

The alarm clock is designed to wake us up. An interesting invention added to the alarm is the snooze button. By pushing this button the sleeper is granted another 5 or so minutes of rest. Some have mastered the art of pushing the button more than once. Whether this is you or not, as Christians we must not be pushing the spiritual snooze button when it comes to our Christian life. We need to wake up and be alert and be faithful.

In , the Apostle Paul sets an alarm designed to wake up sleepy Christians! He begins by saying, “Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep” (a). This is a strong wake up call. Sadly, too many Christians are pressing the snooze button on this urgent call. What is the occasion for such urgency? He provides the reason in the last part of , “For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed“. The word “salvation” or “saved” is from the Greek word that means “to rescue” or “to deliver from danger”. Here is it is used in a spiritual sense. Salvation is exclusively found in the only One who can save, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. ). There is only one salvation and one way in which it can be received (cf. ). When it comes to this salvation, we need to understand it as it is presented in Scripture – a salvation in three tenses (past, present and future):

Past: Saved from the Penalty of Sin (Justification) ; ;
Present: Saved from the Power of Sin (Sanctification) ;
Future: Saved from the Presence of Sin (Glorification)

So when Paul speaks of salvation being nearer, he is referring to the great occasion in which the believer will be glorified. Glorification occurs immediately for those who die to be with the Lord and will occur for all God’s people who are alive at the time of the Lord’s return. Adding to the urgency, Paul says, “The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” (). The remaining part of this passage provides two compelling commands for the believer living in light of the Second Coming – cast off and put on.

Cast Off ()

When it comes to the Christian’s conduct, they are to be alert and aware of their responsibilities in light of Christ’s second coming. Paul says, “Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy” (13:13). In this verse there are three couplets of sin the Christian whose eyes are on the return of Christ are to avoid. Couplet one (“orgies and drunkenness“) focuses on senseless sins. Couplet two (“sexual immorality and sensuality“) focuses on sexual sins, and couplet three (“quarreling and jealousy“) focuses on social sins.

Put On ()

The believer, whose life is lived in the light of Christ’s return covers and consumes himself with the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul concludes, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires“.

is the Bible’s wake up call to all Christians. The reality is, the Lord Jesus Christ is coming back. Don’t be a sleepy Christian that is characterised by pressing the spiritual snooze button. Live in the light of the reality that Jesus is coming back!

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.

12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,

he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing,

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

Romans 5:10

10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

Romans 13:11

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.

12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.

13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.

14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

The Components of Genuine Repentance

Repent

The title of this post implies that there is a kind of repentance that is not genuine. Sadly, this counterfeit repentance is rampant in many gospel presentations and in the belief of many today. This is devastating because counterfeit repentance is of no value.

I have heard many people “lead” individuals to Christ by telling them they are sinners, getting them to admit their sinners, and then to simply ask them to pray a prayer of asking Jesus into their hearts, and then their told, “you’re now saved!” What about repentance?

Some might go a little deeper and call for people to be sorry for their sin, or even to stop sinning. But is this repentance genuine? In this post I would like to consider the components of genuine repentance.

Genuine repentance involves the use of one’s intellect, emotions and volition. Or to put it another way, repentance will involve action from the head, heart, and hands.

Recognition of Personal Sin
This first component of the repentance involves the intellect. When one sins and repents, the individual is to recognise that what they have done is sin. This is the thought process of understanding that what was done by the individual is an actual sin and therefore it is a transgression against God. The temptation is for people to persuade themselves that was done was not actually sin. Genuine repentance will include the recognition of personal sin. 

Remorse for Personal Sin
Once somebody truly recognises that what he or she has done is sinful, the true process of repentance leads to remorse for his or her personal sin. This remorse involves an actual sorrow and regret for the transgression. This remorse occurs because the individual is persuaded in their mind that they sinned. This genuine kind of remorse is called “godly grief” () in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. Counterfeit repentance may involve grief, but it is nothing more than a “worldly grief” (). 

Repulsion of Personal Sin
The next emotional (or internal) component is a repulsion of personal sin. This involves an intense hatred and disgust of the sin committed. This hatred is fuelled by the passion and desire to be holy as the Lord is holy. The holiness of God unmasks the sin for what it is. As the repentant individual’s eyes are firmly fixed upon the Lord, their love for Him results in a hatred of the sin. Counterfeit repentance doesn’t hate the sin because it is against the Holy character of God; they hate the sin because somehow it hasn’t satisfied their selfish desire.

Renouncing of Personal Sin
The fourth component is one of volition. It is the renouncing of personal sin. This is the act of renouncing and turning from the sin. Once this act of sin occurs, the individual pursues that which is according to the will of God (cf. ). It is the practical action of casting the sinful behaviour aside so as to walk in the will of God.

Repentance is a great gift that God grants a sinner and is practiced throughout the life of a believer. Let us be faithful to Scripture in our presentation and practice of the doctrine of repentance.

As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.

10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,

What is Repentance?

Wrong Way Imagine the horrifying experience of driving on the wrong side of a busy road, and then to be confronted with a sign, “Wrong Way, Go Back”. The sign is designed to warn you of the potential danger ahead and the necessary action to be done so as to avoid the potential harm. Though such a sign may be startling, it is actually very gracious and helpful.

Such an illustration reveals a real danger, but there is a greater danger than going the wrong way on a busy road that every human being faces. What is it? It is the danger of dying without your sins being forgiven. We have all sinned () and the consequence of such treason against our Creator is to receive eternal judgment from Him (). However, in His great grace, God has made it possible for us to be forgiven of our sins and to become His children. Our only hope is the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. The means in which we take hold of salvation in Christ is by the God’s gift of repentance and faith. Repentance and faith belong together in the conversion experience – they are two sides of a single coin. In the words of Sinclair Ferguson,

“We cannot separate turning from sin in repentance and coming to Christ in faith. They describe the same person in the same action, but from different perspectives.” [1]

So then, what is repentance? Repentance is a gift that God grants a sinner, by means of the Holy Spirit, in which the individual comes to the realization that they have sinned; they are filled with remorse and repulsion concerning that sin, and then they renounce the sin by turning from it to God. Repentance is necessary for salvation and is to be practiced throughout the Christian life. In a series of future posts, I would like to look in the matters concerning the components of genuine repentance, the necessity of repentance, the freedom of repentance and the practice of daily repentance.

[1] Faith and Repentance by Sinclair Ferguson

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.