Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Domino Effect of Spiritual Maturity

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Millions of Christians have read or heard this statement on the timing of the second coming of Christ: "Jesus came on time the first time, and we can be sure He will come on time the second time." Embedded herein implicitly is the Calvinistic idea of pre-determinism. The Father's infinite foreknowledge is thus confused with a supposed iron-clad decision on His part to send Jesus the second time at a fixed point in time, regardless of His people's preparation or lack of it.
In contrast, Scripture says the time of the second coming depends on the spiritual maturity of His corporate "body" on earth--His true church (just before His second coming it is said to "keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus," no idle or superficial designation, Rev. 14:12).
There is a kind of domino effect in a development of spiritual maturity:
(1) The "marriage of the Lamb" comes not at some predetermined triggered-mechanism of celestial time, but when "His wife hath made herself ready" (Rev. 19:7, 8).
(2) That "when" is a "harvest" of spiritual maturity becoming "ripe" (Rev. 14:15, 16; Mark 4:26-29).
(3) Christ cannot dare come before "the harvest of the earth is ripe," for it would mean His beloved people being destroyed (Heb. 12:29).
(4) This in turn means that "the church of the Laodiceans" must first "repent" of pathetic assumptions of being "rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing" and receive the true message of righteousness and justification by faith (Rev. 3:17-19).
(5) Such an experience of spiritual maturity in turn depends on "the angel of the church" receiving what "the True Witness" has long been more than willing to bestow, for "the angels" of the seven churches are in each instance their human leadership (Rev. 1:20). Throughout 6000 years of human history, leadership remains crucial, for "the church" seems unable to rise above it.
(6) This development in turn depends on the reception of the final outpouring of "the latter rain" of the Holy Spirit, a gift that Heaven has long been ready to bestow but which "the angel of the church of the Laodiceans" has apparently been unwilling to receive (see Joel 2 and Zech. 10). We cannot blame God for being dilatory!
(7) This spiritual experience in turn is needed before the earth-enlightening message of Revelation 18:1-4 can come. Many assume that because the first coming of Christ was at a pinpoint prophetic date (prophecies of Daniel 8 and 9), so the second will occur at such a predetermined point of time. As "the stars in their appointed courses know no haste and no delay," so the first coming was indeed "on time." But the second coming is different: He will come when His true people really want Him to come. That will require some growing up; a flower girl at the wedding is innocent, but she is not ready to be a bride.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 26, 2000.
Copyright © 2012 by "Dial Daily Bread."

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