Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only but unto all them also that love His appearing (2 Tim. 4:8).
It might appear strange that the Lord should reserve a distinctive crown as reward for a good work that seems no more than an attitude of mind and heart. Closer scrutiny, however, reveals that not only does the Lord deeply value our love for Him, but especially the fact that we are eagerly looking out for His Second Coming! It is this which gives a special quality to all our work and witness for Him.
The eye should be kept steadfastly on Jesus who has promised to return soon and to reveal His heavenly kingdom in glory. Christians should be keenly aware of this fact to the extent that it continuously gives purpose and direction to their daily life and work. The concept of the Second Coming contains a special motivation to serve the Lord. It adds a dimension of urgency to evangelical and pastoral service. It is also a strong incentive towards sanctification because every Christian in whom is the hope of Christs appearing purifieth himself, even as He is pure (1 Jn. 3:2-3).
The example of the martyrs clearly illustrates that the Christians expectation for the future provides a steady anchor for the soul as well as a conscious connection to the next life. In moments of deepest distress and suffering, comfort and inspiration are derived from the knowledge that the way of the cross does not end at the grave, but leads to certain resurrection, a new heavenly body and eternal life: For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory
For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our [habitation] which is from heaven (2 Cor. 4:16-17; 5:2).
When born-again Christians backslide, their interest in spiritual things begins to fade and both earthly- and worldly- mindedness tends to take over. Their spiritual calling to world evangelisation and the edification of the church is abandoned and there is little to distinguish them from nominal, non-born-again Christians; indeed both tend to follow a socio-political philosophy. In this way many 21st century churches degenerate into secular do-goodism which shows little concern for the eternal salvation of the lost (Rev. 3:17).
The healthy interaction that should exist between our relationship with God and our relationship with other people becomes disrupted and distorted because of our loss of vision, and degenerates into a humanistic involvement in the secular misfortunes of the peoples and nations around us. This results in a search for political, economic and even military solutions, without recognising the spiritual dimension and the underlying moral causes of these problems.
The only solution to the serious and widespread problem of secularisation is found in a restored spiritual perspective. Prof. H. du Plessis says: Only when the faith of the church is focused far above the horizon of the world, on the coming of the kingdom, on the Second Coming of Christ, only when the believer understands his purpose within the kingdom and is willing to be used in this regard, does the conviction exist that all our labour in this regard is not in vain, and are we safeguarded against a secularised life (Science of Mission Today, p. 89).