Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. – 1Thess. 5:1-2 NIV
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The controversy around Christianity is more because of the mystery surrounding practically every step from the birth of Jesus to his death and resurrection. Beginning with the immaculate conception of Jesus Christ by Mary which will always generate debate amongst not only antagonists of the Christian faith but even amongst curious believers who will always wonder how such can ever be a possibility, to the day-to-day activities of Jesus Christ where he continued to amaze believers and non-believers alike with the constant demonstration of power through several miracles he performed. There is also the mystery of his death and resurrection, as before or after him, there has been no record of anyone that was certified dead ever rising and to cap it all is his ascension to heaven with the message being delivered by his followers that he is coming back to judge the living and the dead with the dead people expected to rise on that day. This last bit of the entire event can only deepen further, the mystery around this personality called Jesus Christ in particular and Christianity as a whole.
This however remains a truth that all must accept because just as many may be baffled by all these mysteries, they are still not able to counter this truth as somewhere in their thoughts, they have no reason to doubt its authenticity but have chosen to rather treat it like heresy or outright falsehood.
The reaction of the brethren in Thessalonica to all these mysteries was not different either but with faith, they continued to propagate the doctrine of Jesus Christ even though it seemed out of this world for anyone to accept that someone who was certified dead could come back to life after many years of departure from this realm. Attempts to use the story that Jesus Christ rose and so it was not impossible for others who are dead to rise, rather than help to eliminate their unbelief, worsened it the more as the rising of Jesus Christ was still a mystery to most of them – 1Thess. 4:13-18.The Apostle Paul took his time to address this mystery by emphasising that what was been thought was the truth – 1Cor. 15:1-38. Not only was Jesus Christ coming back, but all the dead will rise and join those who are still alive to face judgement with those who are found worthy, raptured into the heavens with him – 1Thess. 4:13-17.
Probably in reference to the curiosity of the brethren with regards to the timing of all these events, the Apostle Paul, in the scripture that is the foundation of today’s Devotional admitted his inability to determine when these events will occur. This is because matters of timing of events remain the exclusive of the Almighty God. Man by nature is always interested in knowing the timing of events as they feel it helps to enhance the preparation they make but the timing of divine events have been left at the sole discretion of the Almighty God such that not even Jesus Christ or the angels are in the know about this very critical aspect of occurrence of events – Matt. 24:36-44.
Despite this, the Almighty God still expects that these events, especially regarding the last days will not meet the believer unprepared. The Apostle Paul describes the Day of the Lord in the same words used by Jesus Christ. It will “come like a thief in the night”, he said – 1Thess. 5:3. According to the Apostle Paul, the believer being a child of light and of the day is not expected to be in darkness with regard to this event of the last day as such is not expected to be in darkness – 1Thess. 5:4-5. In order to be prepared for this day of the Lord, the Apostle proffers the following suggestions:
- The believer should be alert – 1Thess. 5:6a. To be alert is to be quick to notice any unusual and potentially dangerous or difficult circumstances; vigilant. Jesus Christ as recorded by the disciple Matthew listed some potential signs that may be useful for the Christian but it is much better to do the needful at all times rather than waiting for those signs before preparing for this very important Day of the Lord – Matt. 24:1-38. Like he advised, the believer should continue to watch and pray since no one knows the day and the hour – Matt. 25:13.
- The believer should exercise self-control – 1Thess. 5:6b. There is no doubt that the human nature is usually desirous of material things but the believer who is wants to be prepared for the Day of the Lord must learn to tame the body by being in control of how much of the carnal desires is fulfilled. No doubt that deprivation of the flesh of some comfort will be required for the believer to be in a prepared state for this very important day.
- The believer should wear the breastplate of faith and love – 1Thess. 5:8a. The breast plate is a protective garment and the believer who intends to be prepared for the Day of the Lord must with the instrument of faith and love overcome every arrow of the devil aimed at challenging the decision to live the true Christian life and so keep the believer prepared for the events of that Day.
- The believer should wear the helmet of salvation – 1Thess. 5:8b; Eph. 6:17. This is also a protective device that encourages a warrior to confront battles with assurance of safety. The believer must at all times confront life challenges with the confidence of a saved personality. Such an individual has supernatural abilities to overcome all challenges die to the conferred righteousness and so will operate without fear – Rom. 8:1-17; 28-39.
That according to him is the way we can enjoy the plan of God for those whom He has appointed, to avoid wrath and receive salvation through Jesus Christ – 1Thess. 5:9.
The believer today needs to understand that it will be a complete waste of effort if after all the activities in this world, such does not get saved from the impending wrath prepared for all those who do not believe, just because such is not prepared for the Coming of the Lord. Jesus is indeed coming back and at a time when only the Almighty God will determine. Following the schedule of the Apostle Paul remains one of the more assured ways of ensuring that you are not caught unawares as the result of such unpreparedness will render all efforts to live the Christian lifestyle useless. It should be remembered that it is not about what we have done before but about what we are doing when he arrives – Eze. 18:21-32. May God grant us the Grace to be in prepared state when Jesus Christ returns in Jesus name. Amen.