16 SEPTEMBER 365 Days with Calvin

Trusting that Jesus Will Return

When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:7–8

suggested further reading: Matthew 25:1–13

One of the articles of our faith is that Christ will come again to earth from heaven. He will not come in vain, so in faith we ought to seek the purpose of his coming, which is to come as Redeemer to his own people and to judge the whole world.

The description in our text is given so the pious may understand that God is much more concerned about their afflictions than he is about the dreadfulness of the judgment that awaits his enemies.

One chief occasion of our grief and distress is that we think God is only lightly affected with our calamities. We see how David breaks forth in complaints from time to time when he is consumed by the pride and insolence of his enemies. Hence the apostle brings forward this description of heaven for the consolation of believers. He represents the tribunal of Christ as full of horror so believers may not be disheartened by their present condition of oppression, in which they are proudly and disdainfully trampled upon by the wicked.

What is to be the nature of that flaming fire, and of what materials, I leave to the disputations of people with foolish curiosity. I am content with affirming what Paul had in view to teach: that Christ will be a most strict avenger of the injuries that the wicked inflict upon us. The metaphor of flame and fire (verse 8), however, is abundantly common in Scripture in describing the anger of God.

By mighty angels, Paul means those in whom Christ will exercise his power, for he will bring angels with him to display the glory of his kingdom. Hence, they are elsewhere called the angels of his majesty.

for meditation: Though some believers are overly fascinated with the details of the Lord’s Second Coming, many pay little attention to it and live as if it will not happen. Many people already in New Testament times voiced doubts. Why hadn’t Jesus returned as he said he would? they asked. Yet the Second Coming is one of the articles of our faith and we must wait for it, patiently praying that he will come quickly.[1]

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 278). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

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