“What does it mean to get ready for Christ’s return?” To answer this question, we must understand several foundational truths. Without them, readiness will not be sought after.
1. Our salvation is secure and cannot be lost.
“And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand” (John 10:28-29).
2. Our rewards are NOT secure and CAN be lost.
“Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown” (Rev. 3:11). It is possible our crown can be taken away.
3. After resurrection, the Lord will call some believers good servants.
“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord’ ” (Matt. 25:21).
4. After resurrection, the Lord will call some believers wicked servants.
“But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed’ ” (Matt. 25:26).
5. After resurrection, believers will receive rewards for the GOOD they have done, and/or consequences for the BAD they have done.
Our choices will make a difference for eternity. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10).
6. Our good works cannot save us, whether performed before or after salvation.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).
7. Our bad deeds after salvation cannot cause our salvation to be lost.
“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become manifest; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is” (1 Cor. 3:11-15).
8. Many of God’s promises are conditioned on faith and obedience.
“to present you holy, and blameless, and irreproachable in His sight — if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel” (Col. 1:22-23). If we continue in faith, we’ll be presented before Him in holiness and blamelessness. If we consistently turn from faith and obedience, we may appear before him blameworthy for not taking hold of His provisions for the cleansing of our sins.
9. Christ’s death on the cross was sufficient to forgive all our sins. BUT we may choose not to have each one forgiven.
“Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses” (Matt. 18:32-35).
To get ready for Christ’s return means to live in such as way that we may win a reward and obtain the Lord’s commendation through a loving relationship characterized by faithful service. It is more than “I am going to heaven when I die.”