30 “Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God.” 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.” (John 16:30–32, NKJV)
This confession by the apostles, that Jesus came from God, was the last confession of faith they made before His death. However, within hours, they would act counter to the faith they confessed. Fearful unbelief would grip them and cause them to scatter, leaving Jesus alone and arrested in Gethsemane. We do well to take a lesson from this, as we confess our faith in Jesus. Like them, our faith can falter. When it does, we must return to the Lord like they did. Otherwise, our soul will be lost in unbelief. When Peter’s faith faltered, and he denied knowing Jesus three times, he returned to Christ (which he did, see Luke 22:32; John 21:15-19). A failing faith is not a saving faith. Yes, the sheep scattered when the Shepherd was struck, but they returned to Him after His resurrection (Matthew 26:31-32; Mark 16:9-14). Their faith grew. “Once believe, always believe” is just as dangerous and false as “once saved, always saved.” Faith unto the saving of the soul does not abandon the Lord; It endures with Him to the end (Hebrews 10:36-39).
When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (Colossians 3:4, NKJV)
Christ is our source of life. Not only is He the giver of our physical life (the One through whom all things were made and given life, Jno. 1:3), He is especially the source of our eternal life (Jno. 1:4; 14:6). We have been raised from sin’s death to newness of life, quickened by the power of God that raised Jesus from the dead (Col. 2:12). This assures our faith that Jesus will appear again, returning from heaven in the same manner He was seen going into heaven (Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thess. 4:16). When He does, Christians will share in the brightness of His presence. Our splendid hope rests in Christ and the life we have in Him. We cannot overlook the unmistakable point of this passage, Colossians 3:1-4: If Christians do not “seek” things above, if we do not “set” our minds on heavenly things, and if we do not live faithfully “with Christ in God,” then when Jesus comes we will not appear with Him in glory. We have clear incentives to put Christ first in our lives: He died for us, and we have died to sin. God has raised us from spiritual death and given us a heavenly inheritance. Now, let us be faithful to Him and receive our inheritance on the great day of His return.
1 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-4)
There continue to be those who ignore and deny the truth of the Lord’s return. It will be a day of divine justice against evil. Others dispute the nature of that day. These attempt to predict when that day will take place. They make fanciful calculations using the Bible which dazzle their disciples, but only give false comfort and hope. Christ’s apostles said the day of the Lord will come without warning (“as a thief in the night”) and “they shall not escape”. It will be unexpected and inescapable. Do not be unsettled by those who claim knowledge of when the Lord will come. The Scriptures do not tell us. Not to worry; faithful Christians are always ready for His return (see 1 Thess. 5:5-11).
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16–18)
There are many fanciful conjectures and false teachings about the return of Jesus Christ. Foremost among them is that Jesus will return to earth itself. Yet, this verse says both dead and living Christians will “meet the Lord in the air” when He returns, and “thus” (in this manner) they shall “always be with the Lord”. This passage is a snapshot of what the saved will experience when Jesus returns. We have great comfort in these words because (1) the Lord Himself will descend, (2) all dead saints will be raised, (3) all living saints will be caught up with them, and (4) all the saints will always be with the Lord – not on earth, but in heaven.