The most important question anyone can ask him/herself is this: “Jesus is coming – am I ready?”
To know whether you are ready there must be an interaction of faith with God’s Word. What does “ready” mean in terms of God’s message to believers? What is required to make someone ready for Jesus coming? And, how does one know that he/she is ready for His coming for it to be a personally glorious event?
The word “ready” in terms of Jesus’ return is shown to be a watchful state in Luke 21:36, as follows: “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” Watching, in reference to the signs of the end given in the chapter of Luke 21 (also, in its parallels, Matthew 24 and Mark 13), implies knowing the signs, recognizing them as they take place, and warning Christians of the time. Luke 21:28 says, “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
Among the signs shown in Luke 21 and its parallels are the following: a prevalence of deception, wars and revolutions, nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, fearful events and great signs from heaven, persecution, betrayal, hatred, Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles, signs in the sun, moon and stars, men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. These are terrifying signs, as mankind is helpless in the face of most of them. But, Christians will recognize the developing of these signs as warnings, as well as assurance of the nearness of Jesus’ appearing.
To be ready, of course, requires … salvation. Do I know Jesus Christ as my personal Savior? “I tell you the truth, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24).
…He describes the testing of one’s faith as a process that is “of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire.” If the testing of faith is to be compared to the refining of gold, then faith’s refining by trials occurs so that “your faith …may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:7). “For you are receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:9).
The final result of salvation will be the redemption of the body [glorification]. Paul says, “…We wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23). This, he explained, would happen when Jesus appears in the rapture. “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
What happens between initial salvation [justification] and final redemption [glorification] to make one completely ready? What is the end result of the trial of one’s faith? 1 John 3:2-3 shows the state of readiness that welcomes Jesus in His second advent. “…When He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” To see Jesus as He is means to be like Him. To ready oneself for His coming is to purify oneself in obedience to His commands (1 John 2:3).
And, “if anyone obeys His word, God’s love is truly made complete in him” (1 John 2:5). Am I ready? The most important question one can ask him/herself requires self-examination. Is God’s love made complete in me?
God’s love will be a light when hope fails and terror grips men’s hearts in fear of what is coming upon the earth. And God’s people will be a light because their hope is in Jesus and does not fail (Matthew 5:14-16). They will lift up their heads looking for His returning, believing His promises of complete and final salvation unto the redemption of their bodies when He appears.