which is why I suffer as I do. but I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. [2 timothy 1:12]
until that day… “that day” is the day when Christ returns and by the power of his life, death, and resurrection, restores everything to how it was meant to be. “that day” can often seem … unreal or so far out there we don’t often see its immense significance to our daily life in Christ. but it is so vital.
the last week of Christ life was a week of “lasts”. last words, last teaching, last meal, last gathering, last sermon, last time in the temple, last passover, last beating, last humiliation, last breath, … there were more, but you get the point. the last week of his life was a week of “lasts”.
“lasts” can be really difficult for us. a last good-bye, a last kiss, a last day of college, a last day at a job we love, a last day before we move, a last day with a loved one. “lasts” … often and mostly seem so sad, so hope-less, and so final. that is why we generally hate endings or lasts. however, in Christ there is the ability in our day to day life to see “last” things … with hope, full of hope, overflowing with hope! how? it is all about our view. the view through our flesh apart from Christ says “lasts”, or endings are final. the view through the gospel says “lasts” don’t point to an ending but a beginning.
that day… will be the very last day of this earth, an end. but in Christ, it will be a new beginning with Christ for all who are in Christ by faith in his work. that last day will be the first day of many new beginnings: a new perfect body, a new perfect earth, a new perfect and united church, a new perfect purpose, a new experience of being face to face in the presence of Jesus forever and ever, and more!
before that day comes, we live in the real and sure gospel hope that every ending, every “last” is followed by God ushering in something new. your last breath means a new beginning in Christ – not an end, not a final moment, but a beginning in the full presence of Christ. what is true of your death in Christ, is true of every other ending on this earth if it is viewed thru the lens of the gospel. the last day of work life doesn’t mean retirement to collect sea shells, it means a new season of life to grow in and pour out the grace of God to others. the last day of college means a new season to become a missionary for the gospel in a new place. the last day at an old house means a new neighborhood to show the love of Jesus and share the truth of Jesus. the last day with a loved one in Christ means they are with Jesus and we are sad, we grieve. but it also means we grieve in the very presence of God and the God of all comfort will comfort us in a new way unlike any comfort we have ever known. in Christ, the gospel says every “last”, every ending leads to a new beginning.
because Jesus rose from the dead, that day will come and Jesus will return in all his glory to make all things new! but until he comes, that day reminds us that every “last” we encounter is not just an end, they are gifts from our good God full of hope and new beginnings.
and he (God) who was seated on the throne said, “behold, I am making all things new.” [revelation 21:5]
~ john ryan