The herd had been spooked . . . they were “shaken in mind” and “alarmed.” From some supposedly authoritative voice they had been told that the Day of the Lord had come. The trumpet had sounded . . . the Son had collected His own . . . the Father had judged the wicked . . . game, set, match — so they were told. Yet there they stood . . . feet still planted on terra firma . . . the world still doing the world’s thing . . . the weeks after the Coming looking pretty much the same as the weeks before . . . the troubles of today feeling pretty much the same as those of yesterday. So, they were thinking, this is it? Really? And so, Paul writes to these confused, agitated, and unsettled believers . . . and assures them that the Day of the Lord had not yet occurred . . . that the best is yet to come.
But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this He called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm . . . (2Thessalonians 2:13-15a ESV)
Jesus is coming again. That’s been the message of God to His people since Jesus left (Acts 1:11) . . . the message to His followers even before He left (John 14:1-3). The question has always been, “When?” . . . the answer has always been, “Perhaps today!” And, while there are definite signs of the times, and certain milestones which will occur leading up to His return, no one knows exactly when (Matt. 24:36). But one thing Paul assures these wavering believers, is that when the Day has come, they will know it.
Paul explains some of the events which will take place leading up to the Lord’s return and, he lays out the dark dynamics that will envelope the world as the Day approaches (2:3-12). But it won’t be because these have happened that God’s people will know the Day of the Lord must have occurred. It will be because they have obtained “the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
That’s the end game . . . it’s what Jesus desired of the Father for those He had been given . . . that they would know His glory . . . up close and personal (John 17:24). That just as the risen, ascended Christ had been the first to be raised with a body imperishable . . . and raised in glory and power (1Cor. 15:42-44) . . . so also, those who are His own, through faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross, will too be risen in glory. And it’s not just about how they will have been changed, but what they will have inherited . . . and Who they will be able to behold face-to-face.
There is, for the child of God, a glory to be obtained . . . there is a wonder to be entered into that defies description this side of heaven . . . there is a unreal reality that is reserved for those redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. We will be in the presence of the majestic King of Kings, and Lord of Lords . . . we will know the radiating reality of the holy, holy, holy nature of God emanating from His throne . . . we will behold His glory.
Many have already gone on to know such a reality . . . though their bodies are yet to join them. For those of us remaining, it remains to be seen whether or not we enter that reality through the grave . . . or through the clouds. But enter that reality, we will.
The best is yet to come . . . the prize of God’s call on our lives . . . the culmination of the Spirit’s sanctifying work . . . the hope of the good news that Jesus came to save sinners.
That’s how we’ll know for sure the day has come . . . we will have obtained the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . by His grace . . . and for His glory.
So then brothers & sisters . . . stand firm.