Today's Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18)
In the Name + of Jesus. Jesus WILL come back in glory. Scary or not scary? St. Paul says we are to comfort one another with these words. Surrounded by evil and sadness, Christians should look forward to our Lord's return to take us to be with Him forever.
But there are lots of preachers and speakers and writers out there who talk about the coming of the Lord in a way that is meant to scare people--as if you could scare people into behaving or scare them into repentance and faith!
The awful judgment of God has already happened. It happened on Good Friday. On the cross, Jesus was the object of the Father's wrath and punishment upon sin. He endured that for the world so that the sins of the world would be wiped out and forgiven.
That judgment has passed over you by His blood on the day you were baptized. The preaching of Christ and His Body and Blood are His constant reminders that your sins are forgiven and can't harm you. His Good News of forgiveness and life are a comfort. That is, when our sins bother us and our consciences trouble us and the devil whispers that we are not Christians, the Good News of Christ comforts and uplifts us.
Since as Christians we know that the horrible judgment of God was worked out on Good Friday, the coming of Christ again in glory is also good news. It's not a reminder we had better straighten up and fix our lives. No, it's the promise that He who has conquered sin and death for us and now covers us with His righteousness will return once and for all to take away our sinfulness and sorrows and give us everlasting joy and peace.
The promise of Jesus coming again is GOOD news. It can never be bad for those whom the Lord has called and chosen in Christ. It can only be good news for you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
My Savior paid the debt I owe And for my sin was smitten; Within the Book of Life I know My name has now been written. I will not doubt, for I am free, And Satan cannot threaten me; There is no condemnation! (The Day Is Surely Drawing Near, LSB 508:5)