For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels….
The joyful and personal element in what we call the “blessed hope,” the return of Christ to earth, seems to be altogether missing in our day.
If the tender yearning is gone from the advent hope there must be reasons for it, and I think I know what they are.
One is simply that popular fundamentalist theology has emphasized the utility of the cross rather than the beauty of the One who died on it. The saved man’s relation to Christ has been made contractual instead of personal. The “work” of Christ has been stressed until it has eclipsed the person of Christ, and what He did for me seems to be more important than what He is to me! Redemption is seen as an across-the-counter transaction which we “accept,” and the whole thing lacks emotional content. We must love someone very much to stay awake and long for his corning, and that may explain the absence of power in the advent hope even among those who still believe in it.
History reveals that times of suffering for the Church have also been times of looking upward. Tribulation has always sobered God’s people and encouraged them to look for and yearn after the return of their Lord. God will wean us from the earth some way—the easy way if possible, the hard way if necessary!