and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.1 Thessalonians 1:10(NASB)
What a joy it was for the apostle Paul to see that the Christians at Thessalonica had turned away from their worldly ways and worship of idols, and were looking to Christ. What a thrill to see them growing in grace, maturing in the faith, and serving the true and living God in spirit and in truth.
Like us, these believers had come to faith in the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ. They knew He was the eternal Son of God Who died for their sins as the perfect Son of Man. And like us, they believed that He rose again from the dead, to give them life-everlasting and the forgiveness of sins.
Like us, they knew that their citizenship was in heaven and that an unfading inheritance with Christ awaited them in heavenly places. Like us, these Christians at Thessalonica knew that the day was coming when Christ would return in the clouds to take them to be with Himself, forever.
They knew that God is long-suffering and not willing that any should perish, but they also knew (like us), that a day was coming when God would finally pour out His wrath on a God-hating, Christ-rejecting, sinful world. His wrath will be poured out upon prideful sinners who, of their own volition, resist the convicting work of the Holy Spirit within and refuse God's free gift of salvation, in preference to indulging in worldly trifles, fleshly lusts, legalistic practices, and idol worship.
Like us, they knew that they had to "wait for His Son from heaven, Whom God raised from the dead, that is Jesus Christ the righteous, Who rescues His children from the wrath to come." Like them, we know that we are not appointed to suffer the wrath of God, because Christ took the punishment that we deserve. He paid the price for our sins, and He was punished in our place.
Jesus took the full force of God's righteous anger against their sin, our sin, and the sin of the whole world. Christ was made sin for us so that we might be made righteous in God's eyes and accepted by the Father, in Christ. Like us, the Christians at Thessalonica believed by faith that God poured out the full fury of His anger against sin upon the Lord Jesus Christ, Who was God's sacrificial Lamb and our sin-substitute.
Like us, these Thessalonian Christians were waiting for the any day return of the Lord Jesus in the clouds in their own lifetime. We also are waiting for Christ's any day return in the clouds for us two thousand years later, for we all have been told: "The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet-call of God. The dead in Christ will rise first, and then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air - and so we shall always be with the Lord."
Let us comfort one another with these words and occupy until that glorious day.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your great and precious promises. Thank You that I have been saved by grace through faith in Christ, from the wrath to come and that one day I will be with Him in heaven. Thank You that I am not appointed to wrath, but that Christ took the full force of Your fury against my sin on the Cross of Calvary. May I never forget what it cost my Saviour to be Your sacrificial Lamb and my sin-substitute. He alone is worthy of all praise and thanksgiving. In His name I pray, AMEN.