For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,…
I. True believers in Jesus Christ look and wish that He may come, AS HE WILL BE THEN GLORIFIED IN A WORLD WHERE HE HAS BEEN SET AT NOUGHT AND DESPISED. If the sun, after a whole day's dark and uninterrupted gloom of clouds, sets in an evening of thick mists and impenetrable darkness, who is there that rejoices not when the next morning opens in a clear and radiant sky, and a full and unclouded effulgence of his splendour? And if Jesus, the Sun of Righteousness, thus leaves our world in darkness and reproach, all those who have a sincere and cordial value for Him will hail Him when He returns the second time in His own and His Father's glories, and will often wish, during the night of His absence, that the hour was come when He shall appear in that might and majesty, in that honour and glory which belong to Him, and by which He will dissipate all the misconstructions concerning Him, as the bright beams of the rising sun scatter the shades of thickest darkness, and pour glory and heat, peace and pleasure, over the face of gladdened nations.
II. True believers look and wish for the coming of Jesus Christ, in order TO PUT AN END TO THEIR PAIN AND SORROW. The wound that was inflicted upon our nature at the first grand apostasy has been kept open and bleeding on through all generations; and when we take a view of mankind, what misery and wretchedness from all quarters meet our eyes, and affect our hearts! Not to mention those great capital calamities which with an enormous scythe lay waste whole cities and kingdoms at once, i.e., earthquakes, famines, pestilence, and war. There are many smaller mischiefs that harass and afflict us; I mean the dreadful train of common diseases, from which no city or town, it may be, is ever entirely free, and which often bring us to an untimely grave, even in the very bloom and strength of our constitutions. Add to all this, that pain and sorrow have still a wider spread in our world, from the ten thousand vexations and disappointments of the present state. Such and so various are the pains and sorrows of the present state, but they shall all be ended at the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. When this wished for period shall arrive, "God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes," from what causes soever they have flowed, and "there shall be no sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away."
III. Another reason why true believers look and wish for the second coming of Christ is, BECAUSE HE WILL AT HIS SECOND COMING FINISH THE REIGN OF DEATH. How dismal and distressing is the reign of death at present! What havoc does he make, in a few years, in our world! How many of our dear relatives, the brethren of our flesh, and of our friends, the brethren of our souls, have fallen victims to the power of this great and general destroyer? And we ourselves must soon expect to feel the stroke of this king of terrors. We may literally say that we are dying daily. In the midst of life we are in death. Death has sent us the heralds of his approach, and we hear the sound of his feet and the sharpening of his dart in every disease and pain, in every infirmity and decay that we feel. But when Christ comes, death shall be no more. His prison, the grave, shall be broken up, and his chains, powerful as they may be, shall all be burst asunder. "Because Christ lives, His people shall live also."
IV. Another reason why true believers look and wish for Christ's second coming, is taken from THE GREAT GLORY AND THE CONSUMMATION OF THEIR FELICITY WHICH THEY SHALL THEN OBTAIN. They are then acknowledged, approved, and welcomed as the children of God, and the brethren and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. And as their positive felicity, their joy without measure and without end, in the presence and fruition of God and the Lamb, lies before them, and ages appear rolling on after ages in the immense eternity, all bright in glory and rich in blessing, so neither is there any possible fear that their bliss shall ever fail, or that the possessors shall ever be removed away from their enjoyments. Lessons:
1. Let our thoughts dwell upon this great and glorious subject. Even the very make of our bodies themselves, though our inferior part, shows us that we are not to grovel upon earth, but to view and contemplate our kindred skies; and shall not our souls mount up from this low world, and its vain scenes, and look forward "to the things which are not seen? As risen wish Christ seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God; set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth" (Colossians 3:1-4). Oh for the telescope of faith to be often lifted up to explore not only the land that is afar off, but the coming of the Prince of it in all His glory! Let us see the heavens opening to give Him a passage unto our earth, the solemn state of His majestic Person, the bright armies of the skies in attendance upon Him, to augment the glory of His coming, and to perform His will.
2. What a miserable portion have those souls who have no interest in the blessedness and glories of this day! To be excluded from a lot and portion in the honours and happiness conferred on the children of God and the redeemed of the Lamb at His second coming, and to be consigned over to the miseries of endless perdition with the devil and his angels; to dwell with devouring flames and everlasting burnings; what a fearful end is here I And if this be the end of sinners, then what avail all their present worldly possessions, pleasures, and honours?
3. Let us give all diligence that we may be prepared for the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us keep this solemn day in our continual view, and let none of the vanities of this life be ever suffered to intercept its prospect, or darken its glories. And whilst we contemplate it, let us be getting ready for it. Let us be concerned that our corruptions may be more and more subdued, and that our graces may be more and more exercised and strengthened.
(J. King, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,