Continued from here.
Expectant living is what we are called to. Christians are people who should be waiting, expectantly for the greatest event that has ever happened in the history of humankind. We believe that Jesus is coming back and that changes the way we look at everything. If we are living expectantly then we believe; we have faith, but it's more than that:
I was told of a poor peasant in the mountains who, month after month, year after year, through a long period of declining life opened his window every morning, as soon as he awoke, to see if Jesus Christ was coming.
He had not calculated the date of Christ's coming, or he would not have needed to look at all. He was ready for Christ's coming, or he would not have been in such a hurry to seek him. He was willing for Christ's coming or he would rather have looked another way. He was able to love, or Christ would not have been the first thought of the morning.
His Master did not come, but eventually a messenger did, to fetch the ready one home. The same preparation sufficed for both. His longing soul was satisfied with either.
Being Ready is the natural response to actively believing. If I believe something new, something wonderful, it is going to change the way I behave.
In Matthew 24: 42-44 Jesus tells this story:
So be prepared, because you don't know what day your Lord is coming. "Know this: A homeowner who knew exactly when a burglar was coming would stay alert and not permit the house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time. For the Son of Man will come when least expected.
The moral is not the unpredictableness of God; quite the opposite. The moral is the readiness of the servant. God has told us that he will not be fooled. He rewards the ready.
That being said, there is no minimum standard of readiness that God seeks. It is here that many Christians struggle. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast" (Eph. 2: 8-9). Readiness is not completing a checklist of requirements. He doesn't have a shopping list that we need to fill in order to qualify for the grace he offers.
For example, the Ministry of Fisheries, and Oceans Canada says my boat is 'ready for the water' when it has lifejackets, buoyant heaving line, an anchor, a pail, a fire extinguisher, flares, flashlight, whistle, and navigational lights. If I am missing any one of these things I am "unfit for the seas" and will get a $150 ticket (trust me I know!). God is not like that.
The only requirement for the grace offered is our acceptance of the gift. We were not given a bargain basement salvation. We were given the deluxe all inclusive package. God paid a price so high in sending Jesus to die that there is no additional costs to be paid. We just need to accept his gift, live expectantly and be ready.
In being ready we are buried in baptism, and anointed with the Spirit. Paul says in Romans 6: 3-4
Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
I am no scholar and this glorious gift I have recieved is more than I can comprehend but there is something in baptism that is active and is part of the transforming process God acts out in my life. Baptism is not just a condition of salvation it is a wonderful reinactment that will be completed in my resurrection someday. I am not saved because I was baptized! I am saved because of my faith in Jesus Christ to save. It is because of that faith that I was baptized.
Paul says later, "Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Eph. 5: 15-16) Expectant living is living with faith in earnest belief of the promise, it is also living in readiness. This readiness can be described as "waiting on the Lord" but I'll write more on that later.