Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words
I Thess 1.7-9 shows that when we believe something enough to fundamentally change our lives, it makes a powerful statement to the world. Our reason for this change is outlined in 1.10: We’re waiting for God’s son to come from the sky. This verse is a summary of our purpose.
Jesus came back to life as proof of concept. Death is terrifying to most of us because it’s unknown. Jesus died and came back to life after a couple of days to prove that death’s temporary. Paul hints in I Cor 15.50-52 that death will only last fraction of a second from our perspective. One moment we’ll pass away, the next we’ll be awakened by Jesus’s return. This is a huge comfort to us because we’re God’s people. But this should be terrifying to people who don’t love God. When we come back to life, we’ll get to leave this place with Jesus. But everyone else will suffer forever.
We also learn from 1.10 that Jesus’s return is to rescue us when God unleashes his anger on the earth. II Pt 3.5-7 describes the end of earth as a fire-flood. It’s clearly compared to the ancient world’s water flood. I Thess 4.17 tells us that we’ll meet him in the air, which would have to take place before the atmosphere is obliterated by whatever thermal event wipes this place out (II Pt 3.10, 12). Jesus is our savior. To put σωτήρ (soter) in modern English, Jesus is our rescuer. What’s he rescuing us from? Our sin is part of that, but ultimately he’s going to rescue us from God’s anger when the world is destroyed for the last time (Phil 3.20; I Thess 1.10).