What if the Lord were to come right now? It is a sobering thought. We are busy with so many things of this world that we do not spend much time meditating on our eternity. No one knows when the end will come, but it is closer now than it ever has been before. Time is slipping away.
His return should not be a surprise to us. Although we do not have details, we know it will happen. The Lord has assured us that it would. Two messengers shared that certainty with the apostles (Acts 1:11), and it provides believers with a reason to be optimistic in an environment that can be awfully discouraging. The promise permeates both letters to the bruised and battered Thessalonian Christians.
The choice to follow the Lord leads us into conflict with the culture, and theirs was a particularly hostile environment (Acts 17:1-13). Angry Jews fought against the spread of the gospel not only in their city but other places as well. Opposition in the twenty-first century can be just as vicious. Labels like “narrow-minded,” “Judgmental” and “hateful” are slapped on believers who stand for biblical principles. Retreat is often easier than persistence, but the stakes are much too high to make that decision.
The righteous judge is coming. The timetable is in hands greater than ours, but it will be at just the right time. The persecutors and the persecuted will both witness it. The king on His throne will sit with all the nations gathered before Him (Matthew 25:31-46). It is He who will make the great separation. Goats to the left. Sheep to the right. Justice will prevail. Eternity will begin. It will never end. Blessed forever or cursed forever. Joy or sorrow. Today, we choose. That day, He decides.
The Thessalonian church was suffering (2 Thessalonians 1:5-10). They were on a battlefield that was taking its toll. The gospel had found fertile ground, and the enemy was stirred up. Satan’s hands were busy. They still are, and he will use anybody and everybody. The religious establishment recruited the neighborhood thugs, and mob action ruled the day. The devil never sleeps. The righteous judge doesn’t either.
He sees. He knows. He hears. Life is not fair, but He is and justice will prevail. One day, the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven. It will all be over then. He will be flanked by mighty angels and engulfed in flames. Vengeance will be in His hands, and those who inflicted pain on the saints will experience punishment beyond description…forever. They will never again receive any blessings, for they will be eternally separated from the Lord. It is impossible to conceive of that day. Words fail. First, He came as savior. The next time He comes as judge. When? No one knows. Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow. What if He came right now? Where would we spend eternity?