Posted by - Julian Mann, January 2013HOLINESS IS EXCITING IN THE LIGHT OF THE SECOND COMING
Before I became a Christian, if someone had told me that I ought to make it my ambition to live a holy life, I would have scoffed. Holiness is for religious recluses, nutcases even. Holiness is boring, for religious fanatics who think they are 'holier than thou'.
But having read the Bible and taken its message to heart by God's grace, I now realise that holiness is exciting. It's about living a transformed life of Christ-like love for God and for other people. It's about changed inner attitudes, thinking and behaviour. It's about being radically different from the selfish, self-serving society around us.
The Apostle Peter in his second letter asked his Christian readers what kind of people they ought to be in the light of the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, the day of God when the universe will be transformed and become the 'home of righteousness': 'You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming' (2 Peter 3v11b-12a - NIV Youth Bible).
Think of it like this - if you are going on holiday to a Caribbean paradise, what do you pack in your suitcase? Not thermals and an Arctic suit, but swimming trunks and suntan lotion.
Your destination affects what you take with you. Christians are heading for the home of righteousness, the new heaven and the new earth, so we need to live righteously now in the light of our future destination.
I personally don't understand Peter as saying that Christians can bring forward the date of the Second Coming as they look forward to it and 'speed its coming'. It would be unthinkable for Peter to contradict the Lord Jesus who, while he lived on earth as the Incarnate Son, made clear that his Father God in heaven had already fixed the date of his Second Coming (see Matthew 24:36) The day of the Lord will come according to God's predetermined will. It can't be brought forward by our good behaviour.
But we are, as Peter says, to 'speed its coming' in the sense of eagerly looking forward to it and living appropriately in the light of it.
God willing, holy, loving, transformed living as Christian individuals and as a church family will be our delight and joy in the coming year as we look forward to the day of the Lord.
January AD 2013