By Dr. David Jeremiah
As followers of Christ, we are offered the promise of heaven: a glorious home for believers of all generations to be united with the Father and each other. To imagine the beauty, peace, and majesty of heaven is a wonderful mental activity, as we turn our minds away from the pain and tribulation of this world and dwell on the joy to come in God’s realm.
At the same time, Christians are not called to spend their days only looking upward. Though we should set our minds on “things above” (Colossians 3:2), what about our responsibilities to God and each other today?
No doubt the reality of heaven impacts our lives here on earth. The New Testament constantly affirms that what we believe about heaven affects how we live now. But as people of God, we are called to live with purpose, purity, and promise.
People of Purpose
Peter urged believers in Jesus to remain mindful about their purpose. He wrote, “Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless” (2 Peter 3:14 ESV).
The instruction to “be diligent” means to “do your best, make haste, take care, hurry on.” In Peter’s day, there were some who thought that since the Lord was coming back soon, they should just take it easy and coast into heaven. The very opposite is true. Because Christ is coming back, we’re to be filled with urgency. We are to be diligent, consistently mindful.
Jesus affirmed this instruction when He told us to “do business till I come” (Luke 19:13 NKJV). We are to diligently use the gifts and callings He has placed upon us and take advantage of every opportunity that He puts in front of us.
People of Purity
In order to be Rapture-ready, we must live with the godliness and purity offered to us in Christ. Since He could return for us at any time, it is our responsibility to live in holiness until his return. As 2 Peter 3:11 (NKJV) tells us: “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness.” In this verse, Peter described the lifestyle of a Christian who understands the future plan of God. He said we ought to be people of holy conduct. He also added the word “godliness,” which means to have a God-ward attitude and to do the things that are pleasing to Him.
In his first letter to Timothy, Paul also exhorted us to make godliness the object of determined effort and pursuit. He said, “Exercise yourself toward godliness” and “pursue…godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7; 6:11 NKJV). This affects the words we speak, the things we watch, the thoughts we indulge, and the habits that shape our lives.
As one waiting for Christ’s return, are you living with the purity of mind and heart required of all believers?
People of Promise
In addition to lifting up godliness and holy conduct, Peter encouraged Christ-followers to be “looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God” (2 Peter 3:12 NKJV).
In other words, Peter instructed us to be mindful of God’s promises for the future, specifically the Rapture and the Second Coming. When we believe in God and the prophecy given to us, we will live in ways that glorify Him and demonstrate the fullness of our belief.
According to Peter, it is easy to become indifferent to the coming of the Lord and His future plans for us. He encourages us to live as those “looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God.” The words translated as “looking for” mean “to expect or wait for.”
When Peter wrote in verse 12 that we are “hastening” the coming of the day of God, he was reminding us we are to earnestly desire the coming of the Lord. Paul put it this way toward the end of his life: “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8 NKJV).
I love the word anticipation. We have an inborn psychological need to look forward to coming events, to enjoy thinking about them, to plan for them, to relish the thought of our upcoming vacation or visit with a grandchild or holiday meal. How much more should we anticipate the sure promise of Christ’s return for us!
As Christians, we are to live for the present and the glorious future to come. The knowledge we possess of God’s promise and plans should not detract from the plans He has for us today. May we all enjoy the benefit of knowing our future is secure in Christ while we toil on earth today! As children of the Most High God, it is our privilege to live for a Father who holds yesterday, today, and tomorrow in His loving hands.
Adapted from The Great Disappearance: 31 Ways to be Rapture Ready by Dr. David Jeremiah. Click here to learn more about the book and click here to learn more about the Bible study.
The rapture is the central event in biblical prophecy. But what does it mean for us today? How can this crucial end times event draw us nearer to God in a world that is seemingly on the brink of chaos? Political turmoil, economic uncertainty, an ideological divide that feels increasingly impassable—the signs of the times point us toward the end, and that can be disconcerting.
The Great Disappearance is a culmination of decades of Dr. Jeremiah studying end times throughout the Bible. In this definitive volume he will explain the meaning of the word rapture, the difference between the rapture and the second coming, and the joy of expecting our Savior to come at any given moment. Dr. Jeremiah will also explore key questions such as:
- Who will be raptured?
- When will it happen?
- What will happen to those left behind?
- What will believers experience when they are taken away to heaven?
- Will non-believers still have time to repent and be saved?
Dr. Jeremiah seeks to answer all of those questions and many more, not with sensationalism or stories ripped from the headlines but with solid, biblical truth. Because God has laid out His plan for us in His Word so that we might not be caught unaware. We may not know the exact date that the rapture will happen, but we do know it will happen. Are you ready for it?
Dr. David Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point, an international ministry committed to providing Christians with sound Bible teaching through radio and television, the Internet, live events, and resource materials and books. He is the author of more than fifty books, including Forward, The Book of Signs, and Where Do We Go From Here? Dr. Jeremiah serves as the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California. He and his wife, Donna, have four children and twelve grandchildren.