Longing for His Appearing

By Lasserre Bradley, Jr.

If you believe the words of Jesus, you believe He is coming again. A short time before His death He told His disciples He was going away, and then said, “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, ye may be also” (John 14:3). What comforting words! But the disciples were greatly troubled by the announcement that Jesus was going away. So Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled,” and went on to reassure them that He would come back and that they would be together again. You no doubt have heard many sermons in which reference was made to the second coming of Christ. You have sung many hymns about His return and seen many references to it in your Bible reading. But the question is, “What have you done with this truth?” Have you put it on the back shelf as a doctrine we believe without letting it influence how you think and how you live?

Consider these words. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (I John 3:2). Surely, that truth should stir a deep longing for His return. Think of it. We have been hearing about Him through the preaching of His word and singing about Him in our hymns; but, then we shall see Him! Oh what joy to anticipate, to see Him as He is. And as if that were not enough it says, “we shall be like him.” We who were fallen, rebellious sinners by nature but adopted into His family by His redemptive work, shall be like Him. It is difficult to fully grasp, but oh think of being like Him—no more sin, no more guilt, no more tears, like Him and with Him forever. Surely, we long for that day!

Anticipating that longed-for day should not only bring joy, but it should also have an impact on our life every day. “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure”(I John 3:3). It’s easy to become enamored with the things of this world, but if you are longing for His return, you will want to please Him and be prepared for His coming. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men, teaching us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly , in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:11-14).

So, we see from these words in Titus 2, that longing for that blessed hope, the appearing of our Saviour, and remembering that He gave Himself for us, combine to guide us in pursuing a godly path while we wait for that great day. May the promise of His return be on our mind and in our heart every day. Paul writes in the Roman letter that even as the Creation groans, we who have the firstfruits of the Spirit groan within ourselves as we look to that great day of our Lord’s return. Today we can all say we are longing for and joyfully anticipating His second coming.

Oh dear pilgrim are you troubled
By the darkness of the way?
Do your sorrows and your burdens
Fill your heart with dark dismay?
Do your toils and tears and troubles
Grieve your heart from day to day?
Does your soul in meditation
Often long to fly away?
Thus the Saviour gives to His counsel
To His children here on earth,
For He loves each one so dearly
That for them He gave His life.

Then, oh, then we all should listen
To His words so kind and true,
Walk with Him and seek His presence
Day by day the journey thru.
Some sweet day we hope to see Him
In that home above the sky,
Wholly by His grace and favor,
We shall see Him by and by,
Then let’s listen to His counsel,
For He too has passed this way,
And will soon return from heaven,
Then to take us home to stay.
—Elder Leon Clevenger

Lasserre Bradley, Jr. is the Director of the Baptist Bible Hour and one of the pastors of Cincinnati Primitive Baptist Church, Cincinnati, OH