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What do I want to be doing when Jesus returns?

Like most Protestants I believe that the doctrine of purgatory is a theological Edsel… bad when introduced and worse since.

However, the doctrine of purgatory does address one point of Christian belief that should affect us every day.

One moment in the future

God is with us each day but our experience is clouded by our fallenness and finiteness.

In one moment in the future we will be alive on earth and in the next moment we will be in the presence of God.

When we think of that moment, if ever, we usually think of the physical sensation of it. We will slip away in dark unconsciousness and then awaken in divine light. We will loose sight, smell, touch, and hearing and then to be enveloped with the new sensations of pure Divine presence. We will die and then live.

We will be changed morally.

However, there is another part of the transformation that should also cause us to marvel and think. We will be changed morally.

The Catholic doctrine of purgatory is more gentle, a purgation over many years. The reality is an instantaneous change from moral impurity to the purity needed to experience God in a new and remarkable way

What will I be doing when my change takes place? What will you be doing?

Some of us may experience spiritual whiplash. Some us may die peacefully in our sleep. Some of us may die in the suddenness of an accident. Some of us may be alive when Christ returns to the earth and calls us from whatever we thought was important at that moment. Some of us may be praying and some may be yelling at our spouse. Some of us may be in the midst of a nurturing moment that will count for eternity and some may be abusing a child. Some may be in church and some in an adulterous relationship. I believe that some Christians will be doing some beautiful things when Christ comes for them. I also believe that some will be in the middle of a dark, grim, hidden, evil secret when He returns.

Wherever we may be, we will come when he calls. For some it will be spiritual whiplash.

Our final act will be our gateway to eternity.

Some imagine that in heaven everyone will be the same with the same knowledge and the same feelings.

I don’t believe that for an instant. We will always be finite creatures who have lived specific lives.

I believe that there will be some Christians in heaven who have never led someone to Christ. They were never with someone when they experience spiritual rebirth.

I believe that there will be Christians in heaven who have never even shared the Gospel with anyone.

They were too busy.

I believe there will be Christians in heaven who have never seriously studied God’s word. They never experienced the closeness with God that comes in solitude or fasting or seriously practice of a spiritual discipline.

They were too busy. The desert fathers wisely observed that busyness is moral sloth. We are too afraid to be alone with God so we schedule a lot of things we can do for Him… as if He needs them.

I may not be asked to die for my faith. There have been martyrs who have gone before me. I want to ask them in the eternal kingdom how they were able to look death in the eye and remain true to God. I’m sure I will hear from them of a great working of the grace of God in their lives.

In heaven we will hear many stories of praise from those who stepped out in faith and saw the power of God. Our choice now is how and when we will step out.

We are becoming the people we will be in eternity.

What will be our confession?

2 thoughts on “What do I want to be doing when Jesus returns?”

  1. That was so thought-provoking, Bob – thank you! It will make me start to think more clearly about that day and who God wants me to be in preparation for it…

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