Today’s reading covered the rest of Paul’s words to the Thessalonians and most of Paul’s first pastoral epistle to young Timothy. I’m amazed at how relevant Paul’s words are to us today, particularly in the area of false teaching.
Jesus Coming Back
In both of Paul’s letters to the church in Thessalonica, the major theme is the second coming of Jesus. People had some bad ideas about Jesus coming back. They thought that the believers who had died before Jesus’ second coming would miss Jesus (1 Thess. 4:13-18).
The Thessalonians speculated when Jesus would return, to which Paul says, “Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 ESV)
On top of this, some people in the church were lazy and refusing to work because they were waiting for Jesus to come back. (2 Thess. 3:6-12)
While no one knows the day or hour of Christ’s return, we do know that when He returns, it will be to judge. 2 Thessalonians 1:5-12 is one of the clearest pictures of eternal punishment in all of the Bible.
“…when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed…” (7-12)
Fight The Good Fight
Paul spent much of his time lovingly yet sternly correcting false teaching that diminished the gospel. The modern church has seen a good bit of false teaching in the two above areas lately and could greatly benefit, both corporately and individually, from Paul’s words to young pastor Timothy:
“This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience….” (1 Timothy 1:19-20 ESV)
To Paul, the ‘good warfare’ was the gospel. When we speculate about dates and times of Christ’s, we disobey the scriptures and detract from the glorious gospel. When we ignore the clear biblical truth of eternal punishment in hell, we detract from the gospel and deceive both ourselves and others.
But let’s be honest, all of you reading this likely acknowledge the reality of hell and know that the Lord’s return is not hidden in some secret Bible code. So what about you? The exhortation is the same, “hold faith and a good conscience.” What is it in your life that diminishes the gospel? Find it and fight it by faith in Christ.
The gospel is to important to be diminished. Wage the good warfare!