1 Thessalonians 1:7-10

1 Thes. 1:7-10 (ESV) "so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come."

These Thessalonian believers set a great example for others to follow. The report of their genuine faith had gone out everywhere. They were not only sharing the word of the Lord but were actively living out their faith. The evidence of transformation was their decision to turn from idols and all that entailed in a pantheistic culture dominated by the practice of idol worship.

Paul praises them for serving the living and true God and waiting for his Son from heaven. The imminent return of Jesus was common in the early church and in Paul's writing. We can look back now 2,000 years later and think they may have misunderstood or were deceived. As far as I know, Jesus Christ has not yet returned. We need to read and understand the text as the original hearer did. There are plenty of studies out there on this topic. I believe these believers who gave themselves fully to the cause of Christ were looking forward expectantly to see the fulfillment of all that Jesus promised. Like Abraham looking for the fulfillment of a promise and a coming city who builder and maker was God. Their detachment from the things of this world focused their hearts and minds on the life to come. Their longing for the coming day of the Lord was like waiting on the expected return of a loved one from a long trip. His quick return would bring deliverance from persecution and the company of the bridegroom. This urgency led them to go out excitedly sharing to good news with their neighbors. 

A longing to see the fullness of God's kingdom and be in his presence should be an ever-present expectation for us even if we wait for ten-thousand years. I was listening to a worship song the other day and I suddenly felt I could keep worshiping him in that moment for a thousand lifetimes. Time as we know it will have no meaning in his presence.

I think we need to see the phrase 'the wrath to come" in the same way. This is one of those topics I feel is greatly misunderstood today, but I'm still in the process of letting the Holy Spirit give me a better understanding of this. I'm pretty sure Paul did not mean this to be used as a fear tactic to get others to follow Christ. He tells us above that power, the Holy Spirt, and full conviction are what should accompany the gospel. We all have a choice and those who reject the work of Jesus Christ to restore us to the Father would be facing a future without life, light, goodness, and love. Thats the reality of a choice that the Father wants to save us from. So much so that he sent his only Son to deliver us from that future. More to come on this, I'm sure.

Popular posts from this blog

Thoughts on Easter

More on Erasing Hell

Obeying God's Voice