Note from Jesus
Dear Fellow Heir of Glory,
As God’s child and as My younger sibling in the Father’s family of grace, you are an heir of glory. The glory that I enjoy with the Father will one day be yours also. My coming again is on your horizon. I will come again in the glory of My Father and the angels. This glorious day is your future. Glory awaits!
Paul wanted the new believers in Thessalonica to realize that My “coming” in glory is their future. He wanted them to remember that they will celebrate Me as their “coming” King Who returns in heaven’s glory. They needed to be reminded that they will be reunited with all those who have followed Me as their Lord throughout all time, and they will be vindicated for their faith in Me.
The Thessalonian disciples had several in their number who had died since Paul left. They weren’t worried about them experiencing heaven, but they were worried that their loved ones would miss My “coming” in glory — the big celebration when I return in My heavenly glory for all those who belong to Me. (The Greek word Paul chose to speak of My “coming” again was parousia, a word used in Paul’s time for the joyous return of a king from his victory. My “coming” is sometimes called “the rapture” in your day.)
The first paragraph in the verses below focuses on the glorious reunion of all who belong to Me when I come again. Those who are still alive when I return will be changed and will join those whom I have raised and given glorious, immortal bodies, and both groups will join Me in My glory forever. (For more on immortal resurrection bodies, see 1 Corinthians 15:50-58.) While you grieve for those who have died, you don’t grieve like those who have no hope. Your being with Me and with all those who belong to Me — a great grand reunion of all those in My family — is certain. Glory is your destination. Joy is the language of My “coming” for you! These promises are very useful to encourage and comfort each other!
In the second paragraph, Paul is talking about the same event, but from a totally different perspective. My “coming” is glorious for those who belong to Me, but the second paragraph looks at My “coming” again from the vantage point of those who are not ready.
My “coming” should motivate you, My disciple, to live in ways that prepare you for My return. While you can’t know the time of My “coming,” you shouldn’t be surprised because you are purposely living for Me and awaiting that day with longing. You don’t take part in the works and the life of darkness because you are “all children of light.” These insights should also give you a firm basis for your own encouragement and comfort, as well as a foundation to encourage each other to faithfulness, vigilance, and holiness.
The last paragraph is from Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians. Persecution, opposition, criticism, and false teaching had all intensified for this band of new disciples. They needed to be reminded that their suffering was worth the short-term pain for the eternal gain — victory when I return and the eternal glory they will share with Me. Paul wanted them to wake up and get themselves ready for the battles ahead, but to do so knowing their victory is assured, and their sacrifices are worthwhile because of their ultimate glory. I will bring justice and victory to them. I will also bring salvation in every sense of that concept, to them and to you.
Verses to Live
My “coming” in glory is much debated, sometimes feared, and often ignored. I hope none of these three reactions is your reaction. I want you to anticipate the great things that will be yours when I return in glory. I want you to find comfort in knowing that what you do for Me is never in vain. I want you to have a sense of urgency in living for Me because I am always ready to step back into history and return for those who are My own. So please read through these related, but distinctly different, teaching sections about My return. Know that I AM “coming” back for you and for those who love Me and live their lives for Me!
Brothers and sisters, we want you to be fully informed about those who have fallen asleep in death so that you will not be overwhelmed with grief like those who live outside of the true hope. Here’s what we believe: since Jesus died and rose again, in the same way, God will bring with Jesus all who have died through Him. For we can say all this to you confidently because it is the word of the Lord: we who are still alive and left behind when the Lord comes will not precede those who have fallen asleep in death. On that day, with a command that thunders into the world, with a voice of a chief heavenly messenger, and with a blast of God’s trumpet, the Lord Himself will descend from heaven; and all those who died in the Anointed One, our Liberating King, will rise from the dead first. Then we who are alive and left behind will be snatched up together with them into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. This is how we, the resurrected and the living, will be with Him forever. So comfort one another with this hope, and encourage one another with these words.
Now, brothers and sisters, you don’t need further instruction from us or anyone else for that matter regarding how the seasons and times will play out. That’s because you know the truth well enough. The day of the Lord will race onto the scene and surprise us like a thief in the night. People will be going about their business chanting, “All is well! All is at peace!” and in the next moment, ruin and destruction will suddenly seize them as labor pains grip a woman about to give birth; for them there will be no escape. My brothers and sisters, it will be different for you. You do not dwell in the darkness, so that day will not surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light. You are sons and daughters of the day. We are not created of night, nor are we owned by darkness. So then let’s not give in to sleep or wander around in a stupor as some do, but let’s stay awake and in control. You see, sleepers sleep through the night, and drunkards drink the night away; but since we belong to the day, we should stay sober and in control, covered with a breastplate of faith and love and a helmet of the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us, His chosen, to face His wrath but to be the heirs of salvation through our Lord Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King, Who died for us. So regardless of whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. So support one another. Keep building each other up as you have been doing.
(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11)
Brothers and sisters, we cannot help but thank God for you, which is only appropriate because your faith is growing and expanding and because the love demonstrated by each and every one of you is overflowing for one another. So, of course, we’ve proudly bragged about you within circles of God’s people at other churches near and far because, even in the grip of much persecution and affliction, you’ve stood firm in your faith and have persevered. Your sufferings prove that God’s judgment is right! The result: your sufferings have made you worthy — worthy of the kingdom of God, which is the very reason why you are suffering in the first place! It is only right that God would repay with trouble those who have troubled you and give relief to all of you still bandaging your wounds, as well as to all the rest of us. On that day — when the clouds draw back displaying His powerful heavenly messengers in a fiery blaze, Jesus the Lord will appear from heaven dealing out perfect justice to anyone who doesn’t know God and anyone who disobeys the good news of our Lord Jesus. And what’s to become of them? They’ll pay for what they’ve done; their punishment will be eternal destruction. And what’s worse? They’ll be banished from the Lord’s presence and glorious power. On that day when He comes, all the saints in heaven and on earth will celebrate the glory of His power, and all who believe will stand and be amazed — this includes you because you believed us when we testified on His behalf. All this is why we are constantly praying for you, so God will make you worthy of the great calling you have received from Him and will give you the power to accomplish every good intention and work of faith. Then the great name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified through your lives, and you will be glorified in Him according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, our Liberating King.
(2 Thessalonians 1:3-12)
Response in Prayer
Almighty Father, LORD of grace and mercy, thank You for all that You have done to redeem me from sin and death. I trust that my life and future are in Your hands. I trust that Jesus will return in glory and bring me into Your presence in glory. Thank You for such a glorious future. Help me live with urgency, knowing that Jesus is ready to step back into history and that His return is certain. I ask this in the name of my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.
‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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