WAITING TO CROSS OVER: Hebrews 9:26-28

David Virtue david at virtueonline.org
Fri Dec 5 13:14:48 EST 2014

WAITING TO CROSS OVER: Hebrews 9:26-28

By Ted Schroder
December 7, 2014

"Now Christ has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away
with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die
once, and after that to face judgment, so 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 9:26-28)

The two great links between earth and heaven are the two advents of our
Lord: or, rather, he is the great bond of union, by these two
appearings. When the world had revolted, and God had been defiled by his
own creatures, a great gulf was opened between God and man. The first
coming of Christ was like a bridge which crossed the chasm and made a
way of access from God to man, and then from man to God. Our Lord's
second advent will make that bridge far broader, until heaven shall come
down to earth, and ultimately earth shall go up to heaven. ....

Here, too, is the place for us to build a grand suspension bridge, by
which, through faith, we ourselves may cross from this side to the other
of the stormy river of time....At his first advent, we adore him with
gratitude, rejoicing in 'God with us', as making himself to be our near
kinsman. We gather with grateful boldness around the infant in the
manger, and behold our God. But in the second advent we are struck with
a solemn reverence, a trembling awe. We are not less grateful, but we
are more prostrate as we bow before the majesty of the triumphant
Christ. Jesus in his glory is an overpowering vision. (Charles Spurgeon,
Between The Two Appearings, March 15, 1891)

When we drive over a suspension bridge we notice the two piers which
support the span. The famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is
supported by two towers which rise 746 feet above water. Each leg of the
towers is 33 x 54 feet. Each tower weighs 44,000 tons. There are 600,000
rivets in each tower. Two main cables pass over the tops of the main
towers and are secured in concrete anchorages at each end. Each cable is
made of 27,572 strands of wire. There are 80,000 miles of wire in the
two main cables, and it took over six months to spin them. It was the
longest span in the world from its completion in 1937 until the
Verrazano Narrows Bridge was built in New York in 1964. Today it still
has the ninth-longest suspension span in the world. The world's longest
suspension span (distance between support towers) of 6,529 feet is the
Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Japan, which was completed in 1998.

The massive column which supports the bridge on this side of eternity is
Christ's coming to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. "Out of
selfless love for human beings, Jesus leaves his state as the one
without sin and enters into the guilt of human beings. He takes it upon
himself." (Dietrich Bonhoeffer) This appearing was a singular moment in
human history -- it was 'once for all.' He did away with the
consequences of sin for all time by his sacrifice. Neither he, nor
anyone else, need do it again. His first coming was to do away with our
sin by taking our guilt, our failings, upon himself. This is the only
way God has provided for doing away with our sins. Just as we die only
once and then face judgment, so Christ died once to take our judgment
upon himself. He suffered for us so that we might not have to suffer
everlasting death. Such was God's love for us.

The solid support on the other side of the deep gulf of time is Christ's
second appearing, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who
are waiting for him. When he comes a second time it will be without
weakness, pain, poverty and shame. He will come to celebrate the great
victory of grace over sin, life over death, good over evil. He will come
to escort us over the bridge of resurrection.

Salvation means the perfection of our humanity. There will be no aching
limbs or any physical or emotional infirmity. Our feeble hands will be
strengthened and our weak knees will be steadied. He will come with
divine retribution to save us. "Then will the eyes of the blind be
opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like
a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the
wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a
pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs....the ransomed of the Lord
will return. They will enter Zion singing, everlasting joy will crown
their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing
will flee away." (Isaiah 35:3-10)

Salvation is not solitary -- we are not alone crossing that bridge. We
are accompanied by thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly
(Hebrews 12:22) and the communion of saints who surround us (Hebrews
12:1). There will be a family reunion in heaven of all those who have
crossed over the bridge, who have awaited his appearing. What a joyful
reunion it will be!

This appearing is to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
How many are waiting for him, looking for his coming. How many are
waiting at the bridge for the span to come down so that you can pass
over to the other side? How many are preparing for his coming? How can
we tell if we are ready and waiting for him to come for us and take us
over the bridge? It is when we see this life as a mere shadow of that
which is to come. It is when we long for his coming as a bride longs for
her wedding day, as a bridegroom longs for his bride, as a pregnant
mother longs for the birth of her child, as the wounded soldier, sailor
or airman or woman, longs for health and home and family, as a lost
child longs for her Mama or Papa.

The Bible ends with the promise: "Behold, I am coming soon! Yes, I am
coming soon. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus." (Revelation 22:7,12,20) Strong
love hates separation, it pines for reunion. It cries, "Come, Lord!"
Longing follows on the heels of loving. When we expect the Lord to come,
we shall be concerned to have everything ready for him. If we know that
he is coming at any moment for us, that we shall be summoned one day to
cross over the bridge, we will get ready.

Life is short, and eternity is long. What we do now is but a preparation
for the future. We know that Christmas is coming, and we prepare for it.
We know we cannot leave such preparations for the last moment. We know
that one day soon the Lord is coming for us. We cannot delay or avoid
that journey, nor should we wish to if the promises of salvation are
real. Because the Lord may delay his coming we should not assume that he
has forgotten us. Nor should we forget him.
We should not be surprised when he comes for us. This life is not meant
to be forever. Rather than being fearful and anxious about the future,
God wants us to anticipate it with joy because of his grace. He has
shown he loves us by what he did in his first coming. He will welcome us
on the other side if we will welcome him into our lives now.

Ted's blog is found at www.tedschroder.com SOUL FOOD: DAILY DEVOTIONS
FOR THE HUNGRY, Vol.1, January, February and March is available for
gifts at Amazon.com

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