This coming Sunday we will light the third Advent candle on our Advent wreath as our anticipation grows for the celebration of the birth of Christ. Yet, I wonder, does it feel like Jesus is drawing closer and closer to His return? Or, to put it more bluntly: have we lost hope in that return? Have we forgotten that Jesus promised us a resurrection and His eternal presence? Have we been so swept up in life, in activity, in the frenzy of Silicon Valley that we’ve forgotten that God’s plan of salvation hasn’t yet reached its consummation .
Or maybe it seems like God has forgotten us . We’ve watched one too many cable news shows which have drilled into our brains just exactly how far this world has spiraled down and have been forced to conclude that there’s no way Jesus is coming back to redeem and restore this world . It’s too far gone, we say. It’s such a mess, we say. Why would God want anything to do with it?
Lest we continue to be swept away by these currents of life, forgetting that this season of Advent is all about waiting it hopeful expectation for the return of our Savior, Paul’s words from Romans 8 serve as a timely reminder for us. They bring us great comfort and even renew our hope in the promises of Jesus this Advent season.
Even if we have temporarily forgotten Him and His promises, Jesus has not forgotten us or His promises to us. Even if it seems like sin is winning and Jesus is losing, Christ’s victory is certain. Paul is insistent on these points and insistent that Jesus remains steadfast in finishing what He started when He came to bring God’s rule and reign into this world.
Here’s what Paul has to say to us as we reach the halfway point of Advent:
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord, (Romans 8:35-39)."
Nothing...not ourselves, not this world, not our sin or the sin of others can separate us from the love of Christ. Nothing can hinder His plan of salvation. Christ’s promises are certain. Therefore, we can continue to wait in that hopeful expectation that characterizes this season of Advent and, indeed, our whole Christian life. For, “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again!”