Ray of Hope Shining on the Face of a Child

A daily devotion for March 3rd

Rescued From the Coming Wrath

They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

1 Thessalonians 1:9b-10

A striking feature about the Thessalonian letters is that each chapter in both letters ends with a reference to the coming of the Lord. At Christmas we look back to his first coming, but in the early church there was little mention of that. They rejoiced in it, and it is right to celebrate it. But for them, they believed that he was coming again. Their hope lay in that. They believed what the angels had said to the disciples, This same Jesus whom you see going into heaven shall so come in like manner (Acts 1:11). It was the ever-present hope of the early church, and that hope became the dominant theme of these Thessalonian letters. This verse looks backward to the resurrection. That fact was their answer to the threat of personal death. This was their ground of confidence for victory over death. Jesus had said, Because I live you shall live also (John 14:19).

But verse 10 not only looks backward to the resurrection, where we see our victory over death assured, but it also looks forward to a time that Paul calls the coming wrath. This is not hell. He is not talking about the fact that Christians are delivered from the fires of hell. The Thessalonians knew that already. They had learned from Paul that they would not come into that judgment. But here he is talking about a coming wrath. Jesus, he says, would also deliver them from that wrath. In the Old Testament this period is called the terrible day of the Lord (Joel 2:31). It is a time when God's judgments will rain down upon the earth. Jesus described it as the great tribulation, which has not been since the creation of the world, nor ever shall be (Matthew 24:21). That time is yet ahead. It was for them and it still is for us. But in these letters we learn that God has a plan to deliver his own from that wrath. Christians shall have victory even over the approaching crisis of the world.

What does this mean to us now? Christians have no business to be discouraged, defeated, or despairing. If we succumb to any of these moods, it is because we have forgotten these great truths. But here in troubled Thessalonica, those truths were to be living, vital, and fragrant in the hearts of these believers. Surely God is calling us back to this again in our dark hour of history.

Lord, may these great truths become more living, vital and fragrant in my heart.

Life Application

Take some time and write out all the reasons you have to not be discouraged, defeated, or despairing.

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

Changed Lives

Listen to Ray