If you were to summarize the normal Christian experience, how would you do it? One of the ways scripture describes the daily expectation of disciples of Jesus is found in 1 Thes. 1:9-10. Notice how Paul does this as he praises the Thessalonians believers,
“For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”
Barclay says it well when he states, “In verses 9 and 10 two words are used which are characteristic of the Christian life. The Thessalonians served God and waited on the coming of Christ. The Christian is called upon to serve in the world and to wait for glory. The loyal service and the patient waiting were the necessary preludes to the glory of heaven.”
The Thessalonians expected Jesus to return at any time. This gave them great hope and really was the basis of their waiting and serving. This also implies that his anticipated return would spare them from the coming expression of God’s anger toward all who do not believe. Although there are many understandings of this passage, it seems to imply that since they expected Jesus at any time, this protection from the coming wrath of God also meant they would not see the Tribulation period.
Constable notes the following about this passage,
“In 1 Thessalonians 1:10 the Thessalonian believers are pictured as waiting for the return of Christ. The clear implication is that they had a hope of His imminent return. If they had been taught that the great tribulation, in whole or in part, must first run its course, it is difficult to see how they could be described as expectantly awaiting Christ’s return. Then they should rather have been described as bracing themselves for the great tribulation and the painful events connected with it.”
However, we understand the promise of deliverance from God’s coming wrath, the expectation for the disciple is the same. “Serve and wait.”
Father, I thank you that the destiny of the disciple includes avoiding your wrath. Jesus experienced your wrath for my sin on the cross. May you help me to be like the Thessalonians. May I be found serving you and waiting for the imminent Return of your Son to take me home to be with you forever.
Following Jesus with you,