And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. (1 John 2:28)

Why has He not revealed to us the time of His coming? “That, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.” A Christian ought to live in the light of the imminent coming of Christ. If you tell me today that He is not coming for another ten years, then I do not need to worry about today, and I can be a little careless in my living. But if He might come today, if He came right at this moment, He would catch me preparing this Bible study and that would be fine. I hope He will come at a time like that, but I don’t know when He will come. There are times when I get behind a driver who won’t let me around to pass him, and I tell him what I think of him. If the Lord were to come at that moment, I might be ashamed at His appearance. So you and I need to be living all the time in the light of His imminent return.

A great many people are talking about the coming of Christ, and they get very excited about it; but it certainly is going to be embarrassing for them because they will not have any confidence and they are going to be ashamed before Him at His coming. Why? Because of their lives. The Lord Jesus says, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12). Many people will look around for their reward, and they will find that they haven’t got any. Paul wrote, “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (1 Corinthians 3:15). It is very important to have a life that commends the gospel.

False doctrine and false living go together; true doctrine and true living go together. Every now and then you hear of a cult leader who is in trouble because he is guilty either of adultery, or of taking money which doesn’t belong to him, or of beating some person out of money. Why? False doctrine leads to false living. True doctrine leads to true living. There is nothing that will affect your life as much as the knowledge that you are going to stand in the presence of Christ and give an account of your works. Every believer will stand before the judgment seat of Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:10). The issue of salvation has already been settled because we are His children and in His presence. It is not a question of whether you are saved or lost; it is a question of whether or not you are going to get any reward or recognition. There will be some folk who will not get any recognition. The Rapture is not going to be such a thrilling event for a great many believers because of the lives they lived down here.

If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. (v. 29)

The Word of God is the real test. In effect John is saying that God’s children look like the Father — they take after their Father. If they don’t take after the Father, they must not be the Father’s children. It is just as simple as that, my friend.

—From Edited Messages on 1 John by J. Vernon McGee