Read: 2 Thessalonians 2
This has been a hard year to be a citizen of Earth. The news projected a lot of blatant hatred. Natural disasters hit basically every corner of the planet. Rampant violence and climate change have caused a record-breaking refugee crisis. Abuses of power and sexual assault have become everyday topics of conversation … “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.” (verse 7)
My friends, Paul is clear that things will be bad before Christ returns. “Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction…proclaiming himself to be God.” In Matthew, Jesus says, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” (Matthew 24:21-24)
We are no better than those who practice this lawlessness, but we have a VERY different fate. “For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:22-24) We are not saved because we are good. We are not saved because we make wise choices or have humbled ourselves to hear truth. In fact, we are can begin to make wise choices, humble ourselves, and live like Jesus BECAUSE we are saved. We are saved because the Lord loves us.
- “But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved.” – 2 Thessalonians 2:13
- “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations.” – Deuteronomy 7:9
- “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, or height nor depth nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:35, 37-39
- “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved.” – Ephesians 2:4-5
Do you see all the promises of love, even in the promises of pain? Jesus said that though there would be overwhelming destruction, for our sake it would be cut short so that we can continue to stand! Paul tells us that we were given salvation that we “may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that were taught by us…” (2 Thessalonians 2:14-15)
The darkness of the world and those who live to deceive will not last forever. My friends, Jesus is coming back to make all things new. He is coming to restore what is broken. He is coming to take what is rightfully His: glory and every heart that longs for Him. No one will need to point out His return. It will be more obvious than the dawn. “For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matthew 24:27) He will utterly DESTROY sin. “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of His coming.” (2 Thessalonians 2:8) His perfect love will be fully seen, fully felt, and fully realized.
“In this [salvation] you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” – 1 Peter 1:6-7
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.” (verse 16-17) Amen.
– Takasha Smith