â€œAnd the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.â€ (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
It has been observed that this first-written of Paulâ€™s epistles contains more direct references to the second coming of Christ than any of his other writings. Each of its chapters comes to a close with a reference to Christâ€™s return in relation to some aspect of His great salvation, as applied to our personal lives.
In the first chapter, he speaks of the second coming in relation to service. â€œ. . . how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heavenâ€ (1:9-10).
Then, in the second chapter, Paul speaks of soul-winning. â€œFor what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?â€ (2:19).
Next, there is an emphasis on stability. â€œTo the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saintsâ€ (3:13).
The fourth chapter concludes with perhaps the greatest passage on the second coming in any of the epistles, verses 13-17. All of this is said by Paul to be the basis of our Christian strength. â€œWherefore comfort [literally â€˜strengthenâ€™] one another with these wordsâ€ (4:18).
Finally, the last chapter concludes with the words of our text, speaking of our eternal sanctification as a result of this blessed hope of the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The second coming is thus all-important. It is a practical incentive and enablement for the Christian life, encouraging service, soul-winning, stability, strength, and sanctification, culminating in full and everlasting salvation. HMM