In the December 2005 issue of Ligonier Ministries Tabletalk Magazine, which addressed the subject of The First Advent, Pastor Burk Parsons, of Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Fla., wrote an article entitled Awaiting His Return. Parsons addressed the relationship between Jesus Christ’s future second advent with His historical first advent. The following is an excerpt from that article.
There is a widespread fascination with the end of the world. Throughout history, we have witnessed the bold assertions of soothsayers, naysayers, and doomsdayers. Every day, self-proclaimed prophets of the end times make whimsical predictions about the future. Claiming to have biblical authority, they tout their cleverly devised schemes about the end of the world as we know it, and by reading between the lines of the Old Testament prophetical books, they carefully contort the words of sacred Scripture to fit their fictional fantasies about the second advent of Christ.
We are, indeed, called to live with eager expectation of the second advent of Christ, but we should only do so in light of the first advent of Christ. In remembrance of Christ’s first advent, it is not enough simply to wish Jesus a happy birthday. In fact, to do so borders on blasphemy. Instead, we are called to remember and to celebrate the incarnation of the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, the eternal Logos.
At the first advent of Jesus Christ, the fullness of time had come and God sent forth His Son into this fallen world. As the prophets foretold, He was born of a virgin who was richly blessed of God. He was born under the law of God, not to abolish the Law but to fulfill it. As was necessary to redeem those under the Law, He fulfilled the righteous demands of the Law and took upon Himself the sins of His people, His sheep for whom He laid down His life.
As His people, we confess that Christ shall come again to judge the quick and the dead. We believe He will return to this world not as a babe in a manger but as the King of all the earth, in power and glory to manifest His reign over the new heavens and the new earth.
We confess His return because of what He taught us at His first advent and on account of the hope that is within us. For this reason, during the wonderful Advent season that comes each year, we should eagerly await the second advent of Christ as we celebrate the first advent of Christ. Nevertheless, let us always be mindful that although Christmas day comes only once a year, we are called to remember and celebrate the eternal work of Christ — past, present, and future — each day of our lives Coram Deo, before the face of God.
May we do as Pastor Parsons suggests. Have a blessed Lord’s Day on this Third Sunday of Advent, 2020.
Soli deo Gloria!