Knowing the future means that I know what to give myself to now. Paul sums up the Christian life as waiting for the King to come back in 2 Thessalonians, getting ready for Him. For some this meant persecution (v4). But if Jesus isn’t coming back there is no point in getting ready.
If we’re not waiting for the King to return we will not be able to live the Christian life at all.
Four reasons to stand firm on the conviction that Jesus will return:
1) God is Just (v5-6)
Day of Judgment is real because of what God is like. God is just so will judge. Persecution is evidence that God’s judgment is right. The story of the Bible is how the Creator of the world will bring justice to the world in the light of the injustice of sin. The Thessalonians were wobbling because it looked like God won’t judge. We are wobbling because it looks like He will.
2) Jesus will be revealed (v7)
When He came as a baby He was hidden in a stable. When He comes again the whole world will see Him. Jesus said the Father has entrusted judgment to Him. The Jesus we need to be ready for is the judge. Jesus when He comes will burn up the impurity in front of Him. Look at this Jesus; He will come again in history in a blazing fire of judgment.
3) Jesus will shut his enemies out (v8-9)
Enemies don’t know God because they don’t obey the Gospel. Gospel is God calling us back to know Him. Those who don’t know Him are punished with everlasting destruction. As the whale was made for the ocean, so we were made for God. In His presence we enjoy life as it was meant to be. The further away from God, the more destroyed we are.
On the Day of Judgment those who haven’t turned back to God will be shut out from His presence forever and eternal destruction. The punishment fits the crime. I say I want nothing to do with God and that’s what He gives me. This is not to frighten us but save us.
There is a place where fire of God’s judgment has already burned out at the cross of Calvary where the judge experienced the fire of God’s judgment so we can be let into God’s presence. Before He comes as judge, He came as Saviour.
4) Jesus will be glorified in His people (v10)
The life to come is the main event. It’s where all God’s plans are heading. The world restored to the glory He created it. People restored to the glory He created them. Salvation is all about being in God’s presence.
God’s glory is God in all His brilliance. We will see that, but we will also see His brilliance in us. We were created to glorify Him, to reflect His brilliance. That’s what will happen when we are re-created. It’s in the world made new we will taste life in its fullness. We will see how worth waiting for He is. Look at what is coming, don’t you want to be part of that. Stand firm in the gospel.
Glorify Jesus today (v11-12)
If we’re not ready for Jesus what would we say to Him? Paul prays we’ll be counted worthy of His calling; we’d suffer for His kingdom. What will it cost for you to get ready? Do what it takes!
For 4½ months, 22 men waited on Elephant Island for Ernest Shackleton to return to rescue them after their ship the Endurance sank. Frank Wild each day encouraged the men on the island with the words: “Roll up the sleeping bags, the boss may come today”. That’s what Paul is saying to us. Keep going, get ready the King may come today!