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The bigger picture

OPINION by Pastor Chuck DeVane, guest column | December 4, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

Pastor Chuck DeVane

Special to The Sentinel-Record

25 "And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."

29 And he told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30 As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. 31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

34 "But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."

-- Luke 21:25-36, ESV

The world around us is painting Christmas with Santa Clauses, elves, reindeer and a plethora of red and green. But, Christians know there is a bigger picture in view. Christmas is about the birth of Christ. Yet, there is a bigger picture still.

See the bigger picture of the "Son of Man." Clearly, Jesus is referring to Himself in this vital passage. The Lord is in the last days of His ministry on earth, His first advent, and He is clearly speaking about the time He will return to earth, His second advent. In the Old Testament, the "Son of Man" appeared to snatch three of God's children out of the fire. At the end of this New Covenant age, He will do much more of the same thing.

See the bigger picture of "redemption," which speaks of release by paying a price. People used to lay away Christmas gifts, then redeem them when the full price was paid. A ransom to release a kidnap victim is a redemption price. In the Bible, redemption is salvation, as Jesus has redeemed the children of God with His own blood. God's salvation unfolds in the child of God's life in three phases. Justification occurs the moment we are saved, regenerated, repentant, and full of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Sanctification is Christ's presence in our lives through the Holy Spirit, giving us a hunger for proper worship and obedience to the word of God. Glorification is still to come, when a believer dies or when the second advent arrives.

See the bigger picture of the "these things," the end of the world. The second advent of Christ will mark the end of human history as we know it. The date and time of this cataclysmic event cannot be known by man, but there are definite signs of the time. Could Jesus have been referring to global warming? Could Jesus have been referring to the exponential rise in cases of anxiety and depression? Could Jesus have been referring to the rebirth of Israel in 1948?

These little pictures are too small to tell, but "these things" the Lord is speaking of are the spectacular, star rattling, sky splitting, and soul-shaking events surround the second coming of Jesus Christ.

See the bigger picture of the Advent of Christ. Jesus came the first time as an innocent baby. He will come the second time as a warrior on a white horse covered in blood. The Lord came the first time to pay the price of redemption, salvation, and lead His people in an earthly and eternal life of repentance and faithfulness. He will come the second time to gather all of His people of all time and share with them the glories of a new heaven and earth, while all unbelievers of all time will know that time has run out for them. Keep your eyes on the bigger picture.

Chuck DeVane is the pastor of Lake Hamilton Baptist Church in Hot Springs. Call him at 501-525-8339 or email [email protected]

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