Wednesday, October 11, 2006

More and more...

When I hear "room for improvement," I usually translate that in my mind as "not so good." But listen to Paul encourage the Thessalonians:
Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.

Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more.
1 Thessalonians 4.1,9-10
Sometimes, it seems to me, we are looking for some exciting new teaching, a fresh word from God for today's challenges, or something like that. But do we always need that? Sometimes I think what we need is something just like this: You're doing great; just keep it up!

A little further on in this chapter, we see this passage that I have to comment on:
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
1 Thessalonians 4.16-17
People have written a lot of stuff based on this passage (Can you say "Left Behind"?) so I don't want to add a whole lot. I'll just observe that this begins with the word "for". What is the "for" there for?

Well, looking back a few verses we see this: Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. (verse 13). So this passage is all about hope and encouragement (for which see 4.18).

In other words, these verses about meeting Christ in the clouds weren't written to make us "smarter" but to give us hope.

So, bottom line: You're doing great; just keep it up!

And Don't give up hope!

posted 10/12

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