In the interim between Christ’s ascension and return, God has granted humanity the opportunity to repent.
In his second epistle, Peter explains the apparent “delay” in the return of Jesus from heaven. God is characterized by mercy and has no desire for anyone to perish. But the apostle even contends that the conduct of the church may “hasten” that day’s arrival. The relationship of men with God is dynamic, not static, and He responds eagerly to repentance.
Continue reading HASTENING THAT DAY
Jesus declared that the “end” will not come until this gospel of the kingdom is proclaimed to all nations.
When the future return of Jesus is discussed, the question naturally arises – What “signs” will precede it? Will its proximity be marked by wars, earthquakes, and other catastrophes? Fortunately, Jesus provided a definitive answer to this question – The completion of the church’s mission to testify to the whole earth.
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Considering the future arrival of Jesus, Paul summoned believers to become sanctified completely by that day – 1 Thessalonians 5:23.
Paul concluded his first letter to the Thessalonians with a series of exhortations summoning believers to righteous living in the interim between their conversion and the “arrival” of Jesus “from heaven,” and ended with a call for their complete sanctification by that day. His final exhortation included verbal links to the preceding sections of the letter.
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Foundational to the hope of the church is the bodily resurrection of believers that will take place when Jesus arrives from heaven.
Paul’s description of the “coming” of Jesus in his first letter to the Thessalonians was written to comfort Christians concerning the fate of believers who die before that day. Disciples must not sorrow “like the others” BECAUSE dead Christians will be resurrected when the Lord “arrives,” and both the living and newly raised believers will “meet him” as he descends from heaven.
Continue reading SORROW NOT – RESURRECTION HOPE
Paul reassured believers concerning those who had died in Christ and their full participation in the future resurrection – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
Paul addressed the concerns about the fate of fellow believers who die before Jesus will arrive “from heaven.” Apparently, some believers at Thessalonica were concerned that dead saints might not participate in the glories of that day. But he reassured them; not only will dead believers be resurrected on that day they will also precede those still alive, and all together will meet Jesus.
Continue reading THE DEAD IN CHRIST
Already, Jesus is “rescuing” his people from the coming “wrath” that will befall the unrighteous when he arrives – 1 Thessalonians 1:10.
From its inception, the congregation at Thessalonica had experienced hostility. Out of concern for their welfare, Paul sent Timothy to determine how the church was faring under persecution. His letter to the Thessalonians begins with his thankfulness for their perseverance, and then he reassures them that Jesus will rescue his people from a far worse fate than any present “tribulation.”
Continue reading RESCUING US FROM WRATH