We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand through him, and we boast in the hope of God’s glory. … This hope doesn’t put us to shame, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Romans 5:1b–2, 5next >
Brothers and sisters, we have a request for you concerning our Lord Jesus Christ’s coming and when we are gathered together to be with him. We don’t want you to be easily confused in your mind or upset if you hear that the day of the Lord is already here, whether you hear it through some spirit, a message, or a letter supposedly from us. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3anext >
Have you ever been excited to learn about some special event, only to be disappointed by finding out it’s already happened? A few years ago I heard that one of my favorite bands was giving a free concert nearby, but as soon as I started looking for details to make plans to go, I found out that the concert had been the night before! Even worse, though, is to receive a personal invitation from someone that arrives too late. I’ve had to explain to friends that I missed their wedding because my invitation got lost in the mail and arrived after the big day.
The Thessalonian Christians faced a similar worry about Jesus’s return. They were anticipating his coming with great hope, but some people had suggested to them that it had already happened, and they had missed out. Imagine their disappointment! Paul writes and encourages them to continue looking ahead in faith. He reassures them that their gathering together with Christ (and ours!) still lies ahead. Jesus’s return will be unmistakable!
Joshua Haysnext >
Jesus, thank you for the promise of your return. Help me to look forward to your coming with patience, hope, and joy. Amen.next >
looking back on what the Lord has done for you,
looking ahead in faith to what the Lord has promised,
looking around you for those in need of hope and love.
Joshua Hays is a researcher at Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion and author of two books. He lives in Waco, Texas, with his wife Rebecca Poe Hays and their rescue dog Cooper.
Reflections on the Way: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing