The Day of the Lord
“Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! For what good is the day of the LORD to you? It will be darkness, and not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him! Or as though he went into the house, leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him! Is not the day of the LORD darkness, and not light? Is it not very dark, with no brightness in it? I hate, I despise your feast days, and I do not savor your sacred assemblies” (Amos 5:18-21).
I have been hearing a lot of messages lately about the coming of Jesus. People are starting to get excited about the possibility of seeing the coming of the Lord. Unfortunately, these messages aren’t producing any change in the body of Christ as most just shout about the possibilities but make no effort to make sure they are ready. The people of Amos’ day were the same way. “Amos denounces the people severely for neglecting God’s word, for social injustice, pleasure-seeking, self-indulgence, and gross idolatry.” (Amplified Bible: Introduction to the Book of Amos). Sound like the church of today? And then in the verse above, he warns the people that they are not ready for the coming of the Lord in their present spiritual condition. They thought they could live any way they wanted. Because they were called by the name of the Lord, they thought they would automatically be accepted into the kingdom of God. But Amos prophecies to them that the day of the Lord will not be a day of blessing and joy but rather of darkness and despair for those who were living in sin. He warned them that just going through the motions of worship without a pure heart toward God would not do. God despises hypocritical worship, honoring Him with our lips when our hearts are far from Him! How many do this every Sunday morning throughout America and then expect to be caught up with the Lord when He comes?
Peter warned us that the Lord is coming for a holy people: “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?” (2 Peter 3:11,12). The Lord is coming to judge all unrighteousness and ungodliness whether it is in the world or in His house. Jesus is not coming back to remedy sin for us. He has already done that. “Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:28 NIV). Jesus is coming for a people who are waiting for Him in holy conduct and godliness. He is returning for a bride who is already holy and without blemish.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25-27).
Jesus has already done the work for us on the cross of Calvary. His blood was shed that we might be sanctified completely, cleansed from all sin and defilement. He is coming to present to Himself a glorious church without spot or wrinkle. How many professing Christians are sitting around in their sinful, carnal state, expecting the Lord to come and clean them up so they can go to heaven with Him? We must understand that Jesus is not coming back to do what He has already done! Just look at what the scriptures say about this:
“And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight” (Colossians 1:21,22).
He is again declaring that the purpose of the cross was to make us holy, blameless, and above reproach. These all speak of a practical walk before the Lord now in this life.
The scriptures declare that not only has the work been done, but it has been done that we might obtain it for ourselves through Jesus Christ. He has made it possible for the bride to prepare herself and be ready at His coming. As we seek the Lord to sanctify us holy, He is faithful and all powerful to do the work in us.
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 1:24).
“And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:12,13).
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23,24).
Notice what the scriptures tell us. He is able to present us faultless. He is all powerful to establish our hearts blameless in holiness manifested in His love abounding toward each other. He can sanctify us completely and preserve us blameless. And not only is He able and powerful to do it, but faithful is He who calls us, Who will also do it! Jesus has promised to sanctify us holy and keep our spirit, soul, and body blameless until He comes. So what is He waiting on? He’s waiting for us to diligently seek His work for our individual life. As we earnestly seek it, He does the work.
“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
“Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless” (2 Peter 3:14).
“I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ's appearing” (1 Timothy 6:13,14).
God’s wants to make us holy, but He also desires us to want to be holy. This is because it requires our consecration and faith to obtain the promise of sanctification. God seeks those who seek Him. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
We cannot afford to sit around in our unsanctified state of carnality and sin waiting for Jesus to come. We must be busy pursuing His holiness, diligently seeking to know Him and be one with Him. We must develop the same zeal that Paul had toward God: “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:8-10). To say that we cannot be holy is to call God a liar. To say that we cannot live free from the defilement of sin and carnality is to deny the power of the cross. To say that we cannot walk before Him blamelessly, without spot or blemish is to profane the very blood of Christ which redeems us. And to think that the Lord will welcome us with open arms if we remain as we are in our sin and carnal state is to be sadly deceived. We do not really know the God Who saves us. As Paul exhorts us, “Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:34).