“And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” Luke 21:34-36 (Read and study Luke 21:5-38)
Jesus tells us in Luke 21 what will happen before He suddenly appears in clouds of glory to judge the living and the dead. He speaks of what would happen to Jerusalem and the temple and what would befall His disciples (Luke 21:5ff.; cf. Matt. 24:1ff.; Mark 13:1ff.); and then he speaks about what will take place immediately before His coming.
“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:25-27).
He tells us that, “when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (v. 28).
And He adds the parable of the fig tree: “Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; when they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand” (v. 29-31).
Jesus said (v. 32-33): “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.”
And, indeed, these signs were already fulfilled in the first century after Christ. There were wars and commotions, false Christs and false prophets. Christians were betrayed and persecuted, and Jerusalem was destroyed for its impenitence and unbelief as Jesus had warned (cf. Luke 19:41-44).
And, Jesus also warns us to “take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21:34-36).
Instead of overindulging in food, drink, or the things of this world, living in drunkenness, or being wrapped up with the cares of this life, we are to be watching and praying that we not be caught off guard and, like the rest of the world, be found living in sin and impenitence and not ready at Jesus’ return.
Rather, we are to live in continual repentance, confessing our sins and holding fast in faith to Jesus and His cross for pardon and forgiveness that we might be found ready to stand before Him when He appears.
The Bible tells us in Acts 3:19-21: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”
If we are found on that day continuing on in our sinful ways, impenitent and unbelieving, that day will find us unprepared and bring upon us God’s wrath and judgment.
God’s Word says that “the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power …” (2 Thess. 1:7-10).
But If we are found acknowledging our sins — agreeing with God about our sinfulness — and looking to Jesus and His cross in faith for pardon and forgiveness, we will be ready on that day. Instead of being condemned, we will be given eternal life for Jesus’ sake (cf. John 5:24).
God’s Word tells us in 1 John, chapters 1 and 2: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 1:8 – 2:2).
And Jesus also said (in John 3:14-18): “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
God grant that, on that day, we not be found living in disobedience and sin but in the true and saving faith, acknowledging our sins and failures but trusting in Christ Jesus for pardon, forgiveness, and life everlasting. God grant this to us for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
O gracious and merciful Savior, grant that we continue in daily repentance and faith that we might be found ready on that day when You come to judge the living and the dead. Amen.
[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]