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The structure of my day revolves around a calendar. Using a calendar permits us to purposefully allot time to certain tasks, it reminds us of due dates, and it alerts us of meetings and appointments. Naturally, significant calendar events loom large. They are anchors on the calendar, immovable events that are capable of rearranging even high-priority items.
There seemed to be a day on Paul’s calendar that oriented everything he did. What’s fascinating about this day, however, is that Paul didn’t know when the day was. Yet he staked his whole life on knowing that it would come.
We see Paul’s confidence in his sermon to the intellectual elite in Athens. When he walked up Mars Hill, the philosophers likely thought he would present just another religion to add to the list of acceptable religious systems circulating in the public square. At the Areopagus, Paul proclaimed:
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead. (Acts 17:30–31)
God issues a call to faith and repentance to all people, Paul said, because He has fixed a day for judgment. The day is permanently established—never to be moved or rescheduled. Paul’s confidence that this day would come was rooted in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus’ resurrection and ascension represent His coronation as the universal Lord of all who will return to judge the world according to righteousness.
That fixed day, which remained unknown to Paul, should prioritize our lives and order our devotion. Peter appealed to the day of judgment to impel holiness and godliness (2 Peter 3:10–12). Jesus commands alertness and faithfulness (Matt. 24:42–51). Paul similarly entreated the Thessalonians to soberness in light of the day of the Lord (1 Thess. 5:1–8). Paul also added that contemplation of that day should compel faith and hope, “for God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us” (vv. 9–10).
The Belgic Confession helpfully characterizes the contrary feelings that well up in the wicked and the just when considering the day of judgment:
The consideration of this judgment, is justly terrible and dreadful to the wicked and ungodly, but most desirable and comfortable to the righteous and elect: because then their full deliverance shall be perfected, and there they shall receive the fruits of their labor and trouble which they have borne. (Article 37)
Let us desire and find comfort in that day. That day is fixed. May our lives testify to this.