Today's Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Some preachers out there love to go on and on about the End Times. Judgment Day. The Last Day. The Wrath of God. They like to preach about the Coming of Christ as a scary thing. They want you to fear God and get with their preacher program. It's almost as if God made us just so He can destroy us for fun, like a little kid burning ants with a magnifying glass for kicks!
St. Paul demolishes all that sort of fear-mongering false preaching by telling us that we are not appointed to wrath. Your sins should earn you God's wrath. And they do earn God's wrath. His anger. His judgment and punishment and terror. But not for you. For Jesus. On the cross, Jesus has your sins. He bears them. He carries them. He suffers and dies for them.
So, what’s in it for you if not God's wrath? Well, there’s eternal life. Joy. Peace. Paradise. The eternal presence and glory of God. The wonder and splendor of new heavens and a new earth. The joy of the body of Christ, all the saints from all the ages gathered together. You'll meet Adam and Noah and Moses and your family members who have gone ahead of you in the faith into glory. But most of all, you'll see Christ in such awe and beauty and glory that words cannot begin to describe it.
There will be a Last Day. There will be a Day when Christ comes in glory and judgment. But for you, who are baptized, absolved and filled with Jesus' body and blood, it won't be a day of wrath, terror and fright! It will be a day of joy and peace and rejoicing such as you have never known. Because after all, the guy coming on the clouds in splendor and glory is the same Jesus who hung on a cross to take away your sins and make this eternal life yours, too. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
From earth's wide bounds, from ocean's farthest coast, Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host, singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost: Alleluia! Alleluia! (LSB 677:8)
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