Surprised by Judgment

A read through the New Testament repeatedly puts into our minds an eternal perspective. New Testament authors are constantly calling the church to look to the future, the return of Jesus, and the final judgment. Writers want us to hope, not in this life, but in Christ and in our reward in Christ at the day of the Lord.

Similarly, biblical authors regularly point out that the world around us does not set their minds on the day to come.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 – 1 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. 2 For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

Paul tells the people that they do not need him to write them about the times and seasons. Clearly, even in his three-week sojourn with the church in Thessalonica, Paul had talked about the day of the Lord. The people to whom he was writing should have had a solid grasp of that doctrine.

But Paul also knows that those who do not know Jesus do not have a grasp of what is to come. And it is this which grabs my attention. Notice in the verse what marks those who do not belong to God. They will be shocked when they face the return of Jesus. They will be utterly stunned at the idea that life does not go on just as it always has.

So, Christian, stop and think. It is a mark of the lost that they live in this world as if it will go on without change forever. It is a mark of being lost to assume that the Lord will not break into history and bring his judgment. It is a mark of being lost to live for this life and this life alone.

Now the question: Do you think like the lost? Are you given to a mindset that expects all to go on without change? Do you live with a mentality that assumes that God is not active in the world now? Do you live like the world, believing that there is nothing to the future but the same old same old?

Christians, we are to have minds that see out into eternity. We are to have a thinking that knows that the Lord who created this universe will break into our history and bring all things to a proper conclusion. We serve a God who will judge the world for living in a way that opposes him. And we are to be those who, were the Lord to return even today, are not caught off guard.

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