All of Christ for All of Life
Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Christ Alone

14 November 2020 – First Thessalonians 1:4-10

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. 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. 1 Thessalonians 1:4–10 (ESV)

John Stott writes:

In this first reference of the letter to the Parousia (which is hereafter mentioned in every chapter of both letters), Paul tells us two truths about him for whom we are waiting.

First, Jesus is the one, whom he [God] raised from the dead. The Resurrection not only publicly declared Jesus to be the Son of God but was also the beginning of God’s new creation, the pledge that he will complete what he has begun. The resurrection from the dead assures us of the return from heaven.

Second, Jesus is the one who rescues us from the coming wrath. This statement is surely a play on the name ‘Jesus,’ which means ‘savior.’ Already he has delivered us from the condemnation of our sins and the power of our idols. But when he comes, he will accomplish the final stage of our salvation: he will rescue us from the outpouring of the wrath of God. God’s wrath is neither an impersonal process of cause and effect (as some scholars have tried to argue), nor a passionate, arbitrary or vindictive outburst of temper, but his holy and uncompromising antagonism to evil, with which he refuses to negotiate. One day his judgment will fall. It is from this terrible even that Jesus is our deliverer.

It is evident that Paul has a lofty view of the Person for whose coming we wait. In verse 10 he calls him both ‘Jesus’ (his human name) and ‘God’s Son’ (his divine dignity), adding that he is the Savior who rescues us, and the Christ (1, 3) whom the Scriptures foretold. Putting these four epithets together, we have ‘Jesus Christ, Son of God and Savior’ or (in the Greek acrostic) ICHTHUS, the word for fish which the early Christians chose as their secret symbol.

MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 93
Q. 93. Which are the sacraments of the New Testament?
A. The sacraments of the New Testament are baptism and the Lord’s supper.