The cornerstone of the Christian faith is “the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Tit 2:13). This is what the angels promised the disciples when Jesus was taken up: “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11) Jesus’ return corresponds to the Day of the Lord in the OT (Is. 13:6; Zeph. 1:14; Mal. 4:5). Thus it is referred to in the NT as “the day of Christ” (Phil. 1:10; 2:16) or “the day of our Lord Jesus” (1 Cor. 1:8; 2 Cor. 1:14). The apostles looked forward to it above all else, for at his coming we will inherit the resurrection and eternal life (cf. Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:4; 1 Thess. 4:17).
Eternal life is thus the “prize” (Phil. 3:14; 1 Cor. 9:24) to be sought at all cost—“seek first the kingdom of God” (Mt. 6:33). Daily we are bombarded by the world with an onslaught of rhetoric telling us to seek first this life, seek first money and power and position and pleasure. “You only live once,” they say. But they are dead wrong. We will indeed live again, and we must heed the words of our Master, “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (Jn. 12:25) Thus we receive the Peter’s exhortation: “being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 1:13)