Major Texts: Heb. 8:1-5; Isa. 53:6; Rom. 3:24, 25; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 9:23; Acts 3:19-21.
We begin with the passage from Acts 3:19-21 – “19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, 21 whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.” (ESV)
The verses just quoted provide us a rather long-term and comprehensive picture of what God has done, is doing, and is yet going to do thought Jesus. It would be nice and neat this week, when thinking about growing in Christ, to follow these three designations – what God has done, what He is doing, and what the Bible says he will yet do in terms of our salvation.
What God has done is relatively well known. In terms of salvation, the major events passed are the birth and life of Jesus, his death and burial, followed by his resurrection. The birth of Jesus brought him into human environs as a link to heaven, his life and ministry demonstrated Christianity, his death made atonement for our sins, and his resurrection brought him back to life again so he could minister to us the benefits of his life and sacrifice.
What God is doing is a question that receives less focus than what he has done. But Christ, being now alive, is in heaven and is at work. There are indications in the Bible (NT especially) that Jesus is working in our behalf. He is spoken of as our advocate, our priest, and our intercessor. The book of Hebrews is a major source of information on what Jesus is doing. Notice the links and imagery there to the sacrificial services of the Old Testament. It is very interesting and beneficial to take the work of Christ and place it in the context of the OT sanctuary services noting that there were daily events there, as well as yearly ones. If the yearly one, most notably the Day of Atonement, is linked to the Second Advent (the equivalent of cleansing the camp of accumulated sins) some very interesting thoughts can be had, insightful ones about the work of Christ today. Adventists have long linked these ideas to prophecies such as Daniel 2 and come to the conclusion that Jesus’s coming must not be far away. It is helpful to keep in mind that the sanctuary of earth is a depiction of a cosmic process playing out still in heaven. Among other things we are left to conclude that there is a probationary time for humans that will one day end.
- What happens now when you pray for the forgiveness of your sins?
What God is yet to do is also well-known, though the theories of the end of things vary considerably. The New Testament says a lot about the coming of Jesus again, the second time:
- What major biblical passages do you know that tell of the Second Advent?
- What time-frame are humans working with, to the best of your understanding?
- Can you explain the sequence of things that will unfold as Jesus is about to, and then, does return?
- What will happen after the Second Coming?
- What is the best way for believer’s to spend their time while waiting? Do you wait well? What are some of the problems with having to wait?
- How do you deal with the passages some of which suggest a sudden returning while others talk of having to wait? how do these two things fit together?
- What do you understand the signs of the times to be?
- What is the difference in experience between those who are dead and those who are alive when Jesus comes? Explain how the resurrection is a source of profound comfort to those who believe.
In the western world, not very much attention is given to the resurrection, certainly not as much as is given to the cross. Do you think that situation should change? If so, why? how does the resurrection make a difference to Christian living?
What hopes do you have that are tied up with the promise of Jesus to return?