The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), November 17
Watching a game go into overtime, especially during an end of the season bowl game, keeps viewers and players alike tensely on edge. Watching a replay of a past sporting event where you already know the outcome, however, is much more relaxing.
Tension builds as followers of Jesus all over the world ask questions such as, “Are we living in the last days?” and, “Are we moving toward a one-world government and leader?” “When will Christ return for the elect?”
First century believers lived in turbulent times and their political environment prompted them to ask similar questions. Paul addresses their fears and calms their hearts by reassuring them that the Risen One, the Lord Jesus Christ, would one day intervene “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming” (2 Thess. 2:8).
Paul offers a number of truths that calm the turbulent heart:
- Trouble will come! But God will repay those who trouble His people—“since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you” (1:6). That knowledge assures those who suffer at the hands of others that God will avenge them.
- Rest from trouble won’t be experienced while man is upon the earth—“And to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1:7-8). Therefore, Christ-followers must develop muscles of endurance and wait for that coming day.
- Christ’s coming is certain—“These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe” (1:9-10).
- Deceivers will arise whose messages will frighten the mind, and some will fall away. Their falling away, however, should not undermine the faith of genuine believers. They should love and cling to the truth. Paul clarifies that this is why those who perish, perish: “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2:9-10).
Christ-followers may sometimes feel that they are living in spiritual “overtime,” but they must not allow fear to rule their hearts. The end is sure and near. He will come again!
Let genuine faith in Him displace the fear that rises in your heart during troubled times, and remember the Psalmist’s words “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you” (Ps. 56:3).
Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (1 Thess. 5:12-28; 2 Thess. 1:1-3:18; Acts 18:4-23):
How does Paul invite or include the Thessalonian believers in his ministry?
Why does Paul warn the believers regarding idleness and proper living?
What does the Lord reveal to Paul regarding Corinth? How does He protect Paul and his ministry there?