In Chronology

Written by Steve Lister

 

How do you feel about time: There’s never enough? It passes too slowly? If only I could turn it back?

 

Two weeks ago, students from Christian Fellowship from CSU Wagga joined other CSU Christians from Bathurst, Orange and Albury for their annual Mid Year Conference (MYC). The topic of study this year was ‘eschatology’ – the study of the end times, the Last Days.

 

We looked at all the information in the Bible about this topic, and discovered that there are many references in the Old Testament looking forward to a time when God’s King would appear and put everything right: right wrongs, vindicate God’s people, bring prosperity, blessing, and finally establish the Kingdom of God forever. This day was called the Day of the Lord. What we learnt however, is that when we get to the NT, the day of the Lord is more than a literal 24hr day – it began with the incarnation of Jesus, the Son of God, into the world, culminates in his glorious death and resurrection, and continues until the final day – the day of judgement. The Day of the Lord is the time between Jesus’ first and second coming. To help us all understand this, in the main talks a humorous analogy was given to illustrate this day, the time in which we now live: a well-chewed piece of chewing gum that has been stretched with a blob on each end! The blobs are Jesus’ first and second coming and the stretchy bit in the middle is the time he’s given us!

 

One of the key passages for the week was 2 Timothy 1:8-10

 

8 So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of me His prisoner. Instead, share in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God. 9 He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began. 10 This has now been made evident through the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

 

One of the major challenges all of us face in life is making the most of the time God has given us. At MYC, we were confronted with the grand truth that God stands outside of time (he is from eternity to eternity) yet uses time for his plans and glory, to show grace to His people in the gospel: the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus for salvation through the forgiveness of sins. It was God’s plan before time began for Jesus to hang on the cross bearing the wrath of God as the substitute for all those who call on the name of Jesus to be saved. This was always God’s Plan A, not Plan B!

 

Having seen God’s plan from eternity to eternity, focusing and revolving around the cross of Jesus, we were called to find our place in God’s eternity, and to give up the me-centric attitude of finding God a place in my life. All of our lives are given and framed by the eternal God of the universe, who took on flesh to redeem us from our sins. 

 

Knowledge of this truth challenges all Christians in the following ways:

  • Assurance of salvation because of the eternal plan of God
  • Confidence in the gospel message 
  • Perseverance in suffering
  • Call to godliness while we wait for our Saviour to return
  • Present joy in experiencing God’s grace of life today, and immortality to come

 

How do you feel about time? Perhaps you feel like the author of Psalm 90:9-12

 

For all our days ebb away under Your wrath; we end our years like a sigh.

Our lives last seventy years or, if we are strong, eighty years. Even the best of them are struggle and sorrow; indeed, they pass quickly and we fly away.Who understands the power of Your anger? Your wrath matches the fear that is due You. Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.

 

Please do pray for the mission of Christian Fellowship at CSU Wagga – that the students would make the best use of the time God has given them to fulfill their mission on campus: to make disciple-making disciples who know, live and speak the gospel. As you do so, I pray that you’ll be encouraged to make the best use of the time God has given you to do this too. 

 

 

Steve Lister

 

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