December 19, 2017
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 19 December 2017
Living in anticipation of the Lord’s return is the theme of 1 Thessalonians. The letter began with a reminder of how radical a change the gospel message has upon those who believe (trust) the Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel message includes essential facts with regard to the person, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Verse 10 of chapter 1, however, indicates an additional component that was proclaimed with this message. Believers are instructed “to wait for [God’s] Son from heaven, who [God] raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.” The reason for a believer to have this anticipation is because it encourages us to pursue spiritual maturity and godly living. Longing for the Lord’s return has a maturing and purifying effect upon the lives of God’s people.
Living in anticipation of the Lord’s return promotes spiritual maturity among believers (1:2-10). Specifically, this maturity is evident in one’s work, labor, and endurance (vv. 2-3), and an increasing reputation of faith toward God (vv. 4-10). Such anticipation also motivates servant leadership, which is evident in one’s motives (2:1-6), concerns (vv. 7-12), and affections (vv. 13-20). Verses 19-20 of chapter 2 make this motivation unmistakable: “For who is our hope or joy or crown or exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.”
First Thessalonians communicates how living in anticipation of the Lord’s return affects the lives of believers (3:1—4:12). God’s people are exhorted to persevere toward the time when their spiritual maturity will be threatened no longer, that is, “before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints” (3:13). The reality of God’s holiness and justice toward sin (4:6) should motivate his people to live in such a manner as pleases their Lord (v. 1).
Scripture is explicit that an intimate relationship exists between a Christian’s conduct and his/her affirmation of biblical doctrine. For this reason, it is essential that you and I receive the instruction of God’s Word with regard to how we ought to live in order to please the Lord (4:1). The basis for moral conduct is the commandments given by “the authority of the Lord Jesus” (v. 2). The basis for moral behavior is not personal opinion; rather, it is based upon divine authority.
Continual reminders and exhortations are necessary not only for moral conduct, but also for social conduct (vv. 9-12). “To lead a quiet life” (4:11; cf. 1 Tim 2:1-2) means a life of tranquility, which does not mean being inactive; rather, it is a life of orderliness and peacefulness. The quiet life is one of self-discipline, hence the instruction “to make it your ambition” (4:11). Exemplary conduct is evangelistic because most people observe Christians to see if faith in God makes a difference in the lives of others. Living in hope of the Lord’s return does negate practical responsibilities. Praise the Lord that his divine commands are always fulfilled with his divine provisions; therefore, submit yourself to the Holy Spirit who is given by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Your Missionary to Georgia's Leaders,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia
Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.