“And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”
And to wait for his Son…!
This expression, with what follows in the text, suggests that it is not a complete sentence. It all belongs to what the apostle had been speaking of in the immediately preceding context.
And in that context the apostle speaks of a living hope and a sanctified walk.
These two always go together. Without the one, the other cannot be. Reciprocally they motivate one another. Each is the other’s stimulant. Where the one fades, the other pines: Where the one flourishes, the other is strong. Inseparably they are knit together. They are intertwined. Always they accompany one another.
This is true whether you are a friend of God or not. If you are His friend, you will always keep your garments clean, fight the good fight of faith in the midst of the world, and deny yourself. Believing on Him, you will deny yourself, suffering with Him. And your attitude will be one of a living hope, by which you look for the Son of God Who must come from heaven. And. the opposite is also true. Looking for the Saviour from heaven with steadfast longing and patient waiting, you will feel the urge to be like Him at His coming, and will have a strong incentive to keep yourself pure, striving to keep His commandments.
If, on the other hand, you are a friend of the world, you will in much of your life seek the things which are below. You will refuse to suffer with Christ, and carefully avoid the cross. Your attitude will be such that your hope will pine away. You will experience no Christian joy in your heart. And there will be no song of expectation on your lips. Your hope will be weak and wavering. The flame of hope’s yearning will be quenched. The strong assurance of hope will be lacking in your soul. And gone will be the power to be patient in tribulation, so that you will not be able to endure unto the end.
Not the latter, but the former was the case with the saints in the church to whom the epistle is directed. What a beautiful testimony the apostle gives to this church! The children of God there had received the gospel in much affliction and joy of the Holy Ghost. They had become followers of the Lord and the apostle. They had become an example to all believers. Their faith to Godward was spread abroad. By the power of grace they had been called and had turned away from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, who had delivered them from the wrath to come.
O, yes, always these two: serving the living and true God, and waiting for His, Son from heaven, go together!
A sanctified walk, and a living hope!
And the latter is described as a constant waiting for Jesus!
Waiting for God’s Son!
How rich in meaning is this expression!
The object of the Christian’s hope, God’s Son, is not called such by virtue of any honor, power, or title which may be conferred upon Him, whether that be by God or by man. He is God’s Son in Himself! Eternally and in coequality with the Father and the Holy Ghost. Essentially He is God, full of infinite virtues. He is the Almighty, All-Wise, Sovereign God, Who is Lord of all, and over all. Not to adore Him as He is, is to serve the idol; for there is no true God beside Him.
Here the very heart of the gospel is touched!
Deny it, and there is no gospel of salvation possible! Confess it, and you have eternal life!
For the gospel is God’s message concerning His Son!
God’s Son Who is become Jesus! The historical Jesus of Nazareth! Whose incarnation, His coming into the flesh, we lately celebrated!
For the Son of God became man, who came in our likeness of sinful flesh, though personally without sin; and He tabernacled among us. The Creator became creature. The Eternal became temporal. The Lord became servant.
Yet the Immutable did not change! He is and ever abides, God! Should you have seen Him in the flesh, all you could say of Him was what His disciples declared of Him: “My Lord and my God!” The Immortal, Creator, Infinite, Eternal Lord of all!
But the gospel concerning God’s Son also declares: Whom God raised from the dead, even Jesus!
O, indeed, this presupposes what actually took place; namely, that God’s Son died in human nature. He laid down His life, allowing Himself to be nailed to the tree of the cross. And He tasted death for all His own. Even voluntarily descending into the abyss of hell. There He bore our sin and guilt, and made satisfaction, brought an atonement for our sin.
Therefore, God, has highly exalted Him in His human nature, having raised Him from the dead. Because He had finished on the cross and in His death the work of our justification. Therefore God raised Him as the Head of His church from the dead, and exalted Him at His own right hand. When He had obtained righteousness and eternal life for all that are in Him.
It is He for Whom we wait!
With His church on earth He was only for a while. He lived our life. He spoke face to face with His own. They saw Him, heard His voice, handled Him Who was the Son of God in the flesh. And they confessed that He was the Son of God, the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
But He left us! Even His resurrection was no return to us. From the Mount of Olives He tendered His farewell, and ascended into heaven, another part of God’s creation, but as close to the heart of God as the creature can be. Thither He went, the Son of God in our nature. There He was glorified with the glory which He had before the world was. Leaving us with the promise that as He had gone, so He would also return to us, to reward every one as his work shall be.
And now for Him we wait!
That is, to look for Him Whose coming is known, and foreseen, and with the added notion of patience and trust. He who waits longs for Him, and has long patience until he sees Him Whom his soul loveth.
Waiting for God’s Son from heaven constitutes the hope of all God’s saints!
This, of course, holds in it unmistakable implications.
It implies, first of all, that we will be striving to be found faithful at His coming. We will not be neglecting our earthly duties, as some who claimed to be waiting, have done. Asceticism and monkery are not the proper ear-marks of waiting children of God. Neglecting our calling of faithful stewardship, failing to heed our Lord’s command to represent His cause in the world,—these cannot be the proper works of the church of Jesus Christ. On the contrary, those who are truly waiting for their Lord from heaven, will be fighting the good fight of faith to the day of His coming, and with the firm conviction that theirs is the victory through Him Who loved them. This waiting implies that faithfully we will be discharging our duties which He gave us to perform, and using the talents He supplied as obedient stewards of the grace of God. As faithfully as we would be doing in His presence, so faithfully we will be doing as we wait for Him.
Secondly, to wait for His Son from heaven implies that we understand that while He tarries He is unraveling all the good counsel of God. We know that He cannot come at any moment, as the Chiliast would have us believe. Shame on them for deluding the minds of God’s people into thinking that by the momentary appearance of Christ they shall escape the great tribulation. Or, the dangerous doctrine of a certain rapture that shall be initiated by a secret coming of the Lord. Not so will the Christian, who really knows his Bible, be waiting: Rather, he knows that the Son of God, even Jesus, cannot come, and will not come until all is fulfilled that is predicted in God’s prophetic Word. All of the signs, of the times must have been in evidence, all of the purposes of God in history must first be realized before His return. Yea, also the very place which He is now preparing in the heavens for all His own, and their preparation for that place, must all be worked out before He will come again.
In fact, all that, we hope for is connected with His coming. Positively, our hope of His coming is the ushering in of a better world, in which righteousness shall dwell, and everlasting peace shall reign. It entails the hope of deliverance completely from the body of this death in which we dwell, in which we now suffer, and in which we are still liable to sin. It implies that we look for final deliverance from those who would kill us all the day long; when our persecutors shall be put to naught, when all of Christ’s enemies, and ours for His name’s sake, shall be disposed of in righteous judgment.
These are the unmistakable implications of waiting for the Son of God, even Jesus!
Waiting for Jesus, Who has already delivered us from the wrath to come!
What a beautiful testimony is it which the Word of God here gives concerning the waiting church!
Not of the world!
The world does not wait for Him. Always the world mocks with the truth of His coming. They are like the beasts that die. And when He shall appear in His coming, we know already what the wicked will do. They will cry out to the mountains to fall on them that they may be hid from the face of Him with Whom they will have to do. From the fierceness of His wrath will they hope to escape through some kind of annihilation. But so it will not be! Suddenly in His coming, His wrath shall fall on them, and they shall be cast into outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. This is the testimony of all Scripture. As it was in the days of Noah, they were eating and drinking, marrying and given in marriage, until sudden destruction fell upon them; so shall it be in the day of the coming of the Son of God, even Jesus.
But for the saints of the Most High,—glory!