In a time where Christianity is characterized by endless rounds of outward professions and good works for people to see, there is a growing need for us to put away our sins (open and secret) and embrace the faith as the early church did. This was how they glorified God in the days of Pentecost. But how can we do this in the end times? How can we glorify God in the days before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?
We can find the answers to this question in the gospel of John. It is fitting that Jesus gave us this counsel before His own trial, for the time approaches when we will each face a trial of faith similar to His.
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, so you will be My disciples” (Jn. 15:7, 8, italics supplied).
To abide is to stay. In light of this understanding, the message is plain: If we stay in Jesus and His words stay in us, He will do what we ask of Him. This is one way we glorify Him. When we stay in His Word, we are keeping the testimony of Jesus Christ. Consider His sinless life! Look especially at how He labored for others. He taught, healed, and strove to reach those who their society cast away. The Samaritans, harlots, tax collectors, and Gentiles all found a home in Jesus.
Among the words Jesus longs for us to abide in are His commandments. “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (Jn. 15:12). The selfless love of Jesus was manifested in His willingness to lay down His life for others, friend and enemy alike. His commandment was but a more personal touch to one of the two greatest commandments in the law.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22:36-39, bold supplied).
Whatever we ask of Him will not come from a selfish motive, but a selfless desire for the good of others as our Lord in Heaven above.
Another way we can glorify God in the end times is by bearing much fruit, the actions and qualities of a person’s character. There is (and will always be) a marked difference between the fruit of the natural man and the fruit of the believer filled with the Holy Spirit.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like…But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” (Gal. 5:19-21, 22, 23).
Our bearing of these fruits of the Spirit, these godly qualities, is a testimony that we are abiding in Jesus. Note carefully that Jesus did not leave His church to cultivate these fruits in its own strength. Neither the world nor we can accomplish this inner change of character on our own. If we could, we would have done it by now, especially after the last 1,986 years!
This is the work of the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Godhead, who dwells within the heart of every believer (Acts 2:37, 38). Through Him, we will bear the fruit of the Spirit as we continue to abide in our Savior. But such a close walk with Him calls for us to repent of our sins. We must forsake those things we once indulged in ignorance so that our fruit may grow. “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:24).
The fruit of true Christianity is not an outward display of good works but an inward change of heart. This will be the sign that we are the disciples of Jesus in the last days. It is our shining light, our means of revealing Jesus’ character to a world that knows not that His coming is nigh. Men, women, and children alike will soon warn the world of Jesus’ return, and each of these Spirit-filled persons will have the character of He who sent them. Their love and their joy, their peace and their longsuffering, their kindness and their goodness, their faithfulness and gentleness, and their self-control will impress every person who listens to their warnings. The character of Christ in them who give these messages will pierce even the most hardened of hearts and many will choose to repent and seek the Lord while He may be found. Those who do will surely find Him, to their own salvation and to the praise of Heaven above.
Jesus’ return is near and we must warn the world. Christians whose faith is a mere outward profession cannot and will not take up this work. Those who do will keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. They will have allowed the Holy Spirit to change them. This interior transformation of character will bring forth a people determined to reach even those cast away by our society. Their love for these people will mirror the love of He who gave His life for them. Do we not love these persons enough to cast away our sins for their sake? If we do, then we must act in harmony with our faith. The men, women, and children of God who forsake their sins and allow the Holy Spirit to work in them in the last days will be prepared to tell the world that their Savior cometh. May they who love the Lord prepare themselves for this glorious time.
“Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For this promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord out God shall call’” (Acts 2:37-39).
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Gal. 5:16, 17).