The Gospel and the Second Coming

We swam in an ocean of injustice late in 2023! One needn’t look too critically at our world today in order to come to this conclusion. Are you in a good mood, content, happy? Access the news for a few minutes – and after you’ve watched the television, gone online, or listened to the radio – that peaceful easy feeling will go poof!

And if we’re not careful, this sense of injustice can turn our hearts toward cynicism, despair and hopelessness. As God’s children, we are called to be realists. And reality tells us this: the world is full of injustice.

I dare say, there are many people, religious and secular alike, that, if at all honest, would concur with this assessment of injustice running rampant on the earth.

Although I’ve painted a rather depressing picture, this portrait of reality actually provides a powerful and positive platform to communicate the gospel in context of the 2nd coming of Jesus. And while the return of Jesus provides the answer to the injustice found in our world, it also provides the challenge to the injustice found in the very heart of man.

All Christians, regardless of religious tradition, believe in the Second Coming? And while we may differ about the circumstances surrounding the timing of His coming, we all agree – Jesus is coming back!

The stage was set the moment Jesus ascended into heaven, as the angel announced:

“Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 2:11).

And regarding justice specifically, what will happen when He returns? The bible is crystal clear:

For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead (Acts 17:31).

Yes, we all want justice. Yet the one who judges and the characteristics of that judgment are critical. Why? Because when the meting out of justice is subjective, there are always going to be issues, including those of injustice! Can anyone say, “Collateral damage!”

The description of God’s justice applied at the 2nd coming of Jesus provides added clarity:

For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, And the peoples with His truth (Psalm 96:13).

The Lord’s justice is characterized by righteousness and truth – His righteousness and His truth! There will be a time when the Lord will right the wrongs in this world. And as God’s people we cry out “yes” and “amen!” But what of those who don’t know the Lord?

Sharing this truth claim with an unbeliever provides a cogent explanation for ultimate justice to be served, while providing a platform for continued conversation about spiritual things. Certainly some will take issue with or reject this line of thinking, and that’s ok. And if that’s the case, you can then ask that individual if they think justice on this earth can be accomplished another way, and if so, how and by whom.

While a general view of justice accomplished through the 2nd coming of Jesus is a conversation starter, a personal view of God’s justice accomplished through the first coming of Jesus may be more challenging for your audience, because it is personal!

How so? 

First of all, while Jesus judges the world at His second coming, including unbelievers, He judged sin at His first coming:

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17).

That’s good news, right? Yes, but only for the one who believes in Jesus. And here lies the personal challenge for the unbeliever:

“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:18:19).

In the natural, we human beings don’t view ourselves as either judged or condemned. Yet this is our actual spiritual condition apart from the saving grace of Jesus! So we ought naught be surprised when we receive push back or are simply cut off for adhering to such a view.

Yet, there is hope for the hopeless, a solution to our dilemma of depravity. So, every person has a choice – we will either be judged for our own sin by God or trust in God’s judgment upon sin through the sacrifice of Christ. You see, to move from judged to justified only happens through faith, as Jesus clearly states in John 5:24 [see also Romans 5:1]:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”

Oh, the hope of the gospel message! For the death of Christ on the cross for our sins is God’s judgement upon sin. And for humanity, we all who are born under judgement and condemnation, escaping God’s wrath by being born-again through faith is truly liberating!

And this is the hope we share with the hopeless, whether or not they realize their true need of salvation.

Ultimately, for you and me as witnesses for Jesus, we must implore the Lord to do the work only He can accomplish. For it’s the Holy Spirit that does the work of conviction and regeneration – revealing to people their need and providing the answer to that need:

“And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8)

…not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).

Justice we want, justice we will get. And God? His justice will be served at the 2nd coming of Christ, as Scripture plainly states. Yet, in His mercy and grace, He has provided justice for the unjust – namely you and I and all who will believe in Him. For Jesus died for our sins – the just for the unjust. And this our message of good news to a world crying out for justice. 

Jesus is coming! Be ready! To him who has ears, let him hear!

“He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen, Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen” (Revelation 22:20-21).

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