We’re each getting closer to the time when we’ll stand face-to-face with God. At that time, “each of us shall give account of himself to God” for the way we lived our lives, including “every idle word” spoken (Rom. 14:12; Matt. 12:36-37). How we conduct ourselves now matters to God.
If we’re in His family, then our time of judgement has already begun (1 Pet. 4:17). God is determining right now who will end up in His family by calling whom He wills, choosing those who respond, and then watching to see who remains faithful (Rev. 17:14). His mercy is unfailing and God is ever ready to forgive those who repent, but the simple truth is that He won’t have the sort of people in his family who chose to reject His teachings on how to live our lives. When God tells us how to live, it actually matters to Him that we listen.
Be a Growing Person
In his second letter, Peter talks about Christ’s approaching return and the day of judgement. He asks an important question: “What manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness”? (2 Pet. 3:11). Even in the question, we start to get an answer. The type of person we should be involves holy conduct patterned after God’s example. Peter goes on, counseling, “be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless” (2 Pet. 3:14).
This conversation about our conduct is sandwiched between two intriguing points. Firstly, Peter says that “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). God hasn’t forgotten to send Jesus back. Rather, He’s patiently waiting because He wants people to repent before “the day of the Lord.” Secondly, Peter tells us to ” consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation” (2 Pet. 3:15). If God wasn’t patient enough to keep forgiving us, we wouldn’t be saved.
God expects us to become perfect, as He is perfect (Matt. 5:48). He’s also very patient with us, knowing we’re not going to actually reach the “measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” in this life (Eph. 4:13). But He does expect us to follow the example of His Son and keep growing in obedience to Him. As long we’re growing toward perfection, God counts us as perfected. You do have to keep trying, though. You can’t just decide God doesn’t care how you live your life and run around flaunting His commands if you want to remain in a close relationship with Him.
Near the end of His human life, Jesus spoke with His disciples about the end times and warned them to watch and be ready. This is often taken as watching the world around us for signs that Jesus is coming back soon. Some even take it so far as to set dates for His return (even though Jesus plainly said, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority” in Acts 1:7).
Though we should be aware of what’s going on as the world moves closer to the end, the emphasis in Jesus’ message is actually on watching ourselves because we don’t know the day or hour. Our job isn’t to figure out when He’s coming back, but to be ready whenever He does come. He instructs, “take heed to yourselves” and “pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:34, 36).
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. (2 Cor. 13:5)
There are observable markers of being faithful to God We should see when we examine ourselves if we’re remaining faithful to Him. And they’re all tied to Jesus Christ dwelling inside us. When we examine and watch ourselves, we should be measuring ourselves against the conduct of Jesus Christ. The more we look like Him, the better our spiritual condition.