True believers should not be indifferent to and ignorant of contemporary history. The Christian who cannot see the hand of God in history, and does not observe the gradual movements of all kingdoms towards the final subjection of all things to Christ is ‘blind’. The book of Daniel in the Old Testament and the book of Revelation in the New Testament reveal what God is doing in the world and among His people; the Lord Jesus Himself also speaks of the need for readiness for His second coming and to watch and pray, and to work. What was and is happening in the world do not occur by chance or accident; it is by the appointment of God in history.
Kingdoms rise and fall; wars, famines, pestilence, natural disasters and death are just the beginning of ‘birth pangs’. “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness but denying its power: Avoid such people” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
The Lord Jesus Himself said:-“Blessed is the servant, whom his Lord when He cometh shall find so doing” (Luke 12:43).
Notice that the Lord calls ‘blessed’ those who are found doing and working the work of the Master – it not those who have good intentions, proper wishes and feelings and even positive professions who are ‘blessed’; it is those who are practising their faith and working out God’s desires. We are to labour to glorify God, each in our own sphere and context.
Where there is no fruit (of the Spirit), there is no life. True grace, we must not ever forget, is never idle; it never slumbers or sleeps. The Spirit of Life in Christ will always make Himself known in the daily conduct of those in whom He dwells. Where there is no fruit of the Spirit to be seen, there is no vital religion in the heart.
Jesus also said, “Take ye heed, watch and pray, for ye know not when the time is” (Mark 13:33). We are to keep our souls wakeful, prepared at any time to meet our Master; we are to beware of spiritual lethargy, dullness and deadness.
We are also to pray, to keep up habits of communion with God, to speak with Him daily so that we may be ready to see Him face to face at any moment.
“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot – they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all – so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17:26-30).
Take note that the Lord was saying that it is the midst of the normal activities and pursuits of life that the Lord may appear and judgement would come .In the midst of the current crisis, we often look forward to the day when ‘life would return to normal’, when we can have our eating and drinking, our economic activity, buying and selling, even marriage and family life as per normal – yet it is precisely in the midst of such activities that we become indifferent and slothful to the ‘things of God’ and we may be caught unprepared when our Master appears. If we live as if life on earth is all that matters, we are no different from those who are unbelievers. If there is no ‘pilgrim spirit’ and a ‘looking forward and upward to that which is eternal and unseen’, we are in danger of being ‘dragged down’ by what is seen and passing away.
Are we truly ready to meet our Master? Our responses in life, our outworking of our faith – all these may give us an indication of our readiness. May the Lord speak to us and exhort us to be ready at all times.