“You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”
for the coming of the Lord is
The reason we remain faithful is that the Lord’s coming is imminent. It is the motive for what we do as Christians.
Phil 4:5, “Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.”
How could the coming of Christ be “at hand” to the readers of James if He still has not come in 2000 years? The answer lies in the meaning of the words “at hand.”
The phrase “at hand” is a technical phrase for the imminent return of Christ. The word in the Greek means to draw near, to approach, to come close. This word carries the idea of imminent or to move nearer to a reference point. The coming of the Lord is approaching to a current point of time as harvest time approaches. The rapture is the next event on God’s prophetic calendar. It could happen at any moment. No prophecy needs fulfillment before the rapture occurs.
Heb 10:25, “…not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching…”
1 Pet. 4:7, “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.”
The Lord’s coming should encourage every believer to live godly lives.
The next event on God’s prophetic calendar is the rapture. No prophecy needs fulfillment before Christ comes back. It could happen at any moment. The rapture has been imminent since the church began. God expects the believer to always be on alert to His coming. A trial is only temporary for the believer. It will stop when the Lord returns.
The believer is to fix his heart on the imminent return of Christ. We do this because Christ’s coming is certain, “The judge is standing at the door” (5:9).
Ro 13:12-14, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”
God is not negligent in keeping His promise of the imminent return of Christ. We can have confidence in that so we can have a stable attitude about the future. God will send Jesus back, but He will do it on His own time scale.
Rom. 16:25-27, “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began 26 but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith— 27 to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.”