Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 3 Study # 4
Thesis: Awaiting the coming of the Son from the heavens is the "other half" of "the faith".
Introduction: When Paul described the impact of the Gospel upon the Thessalonians, he said that they "turned to the God from the [their] idols". This is the intention of God for the proclamation of the Gospel: to present Himself as the gracious Lover Who seeks to impart the Joy of Life to those who trust Him so that they will turn to Him in "faith". Then, Paul went on to describe the two main results of such a "turn": serving and waiting. There are three major issues involved here. That one needs a "God" to "turn" to means that creatures are not, and never will be, self-sufficient and were never intended to "live" without the "power" of the "God" being exercised on their behalf. [This counters the practice of only seeking, and only expecting from God,on a sporadic basis.] Secondly, that the "turning" results in "serving" automatically identifies the point of the availability of the "power" from the "God". [At issue here is the identification of every agenda issue: whose objectives are we seeking to accomplish?]. And thirdly, that the "turning" results in "waiting" also has an automatic implication: the available "power" from the "God" is not to be exercised "to the uttermost" in any situation so that there will always be, in time, a "need" that goes unmet for at least a while. It is this lingering neediness that makes "waiting for His Son from the heavens" such a crucial concept. If we are sufficiently frustrated with what happens to us in the present, we will go looking for another "God" to address our frustration(s). To keep that from happening, the Gospel includes a long-term commitment by God to ultimately satisfy every desire. The key word here is "ultimately" and that word insists upon "faith" that is willing to "wait" even when the desires are "overwhelming".
March 30, 2014
- I. The Built-in Concepts of "Waiting".
- A. The coming of the Son is far above and beyond what we can "expect" at the termination of our physical lives.
- 1. Some think it is no big deal that we have a promise of the coming of the Son in light of the facts that the promise has been here for many, many generations without fulfillment, and everyone dies at any rate.
- 2. Physical death is presented various ways in the Bible, the best scenario being "absent from the body is being in the Lord's presence", but, at best, this is not even close to what the coming of the Son from out of the heavens will bring (we will be "at rest", but still not really "satisfied": Revelation 6:10-11).
- B. The very concept of "awaiting" pushes Paul to choose an enigmatic word to express it.
- 1. The word itself is seldom found in any kind of Greek literature.
- 2. It is a compound word that uses a very familiar verb ("to remain or abide") with a very common preposition (above) pasted on the front end.
- 3. In one of the few non-biblical uses provided by Liddell and Scott Greek-English Lexicon we get a significant hint: "to face an enemy in battle".
- a. The idea here is that one of the goals of an enemy is to knock one off of his/her feet so as to make killing them much easier.
- b. To "remain upright" in the face of such an objective, then, means to "stay alive".
- 4. Paul's reach for this term signals his understanding of just how critical the promise of the Son from heaven is in view of the extreme efforts of the enemy of our souls to knock us off of our feet.
- a. If we "remain upright" in the battle, it will make "staying alive" much more possible.
- b. Biblically, it is "hope" that keeps our feet on the ground and keeps us "upright" in terms of the life of "serving the living and true God".
- II. The Event We Await.
- A. It is identified in terms of "the Son of the God": a direct implication of the use of power to bring about the expected and desired results.
- 1. This aspect is also described as an "out from the heavens" coming -- the first of three "out from" phrases in this verse -- signaling the intention of bringing the intention of the heavens onto the earth.
- 2. This aspect is intensified by the description of the "Son" as Him Whom "The God" raised from (out from) the dead -- the second of three "out from" phrases to produce an expectation for an incredibly potent exercise of power.
- B. It is identified in terms of "Jesus".
- 1. The name choice is crucial: the Deliverer.
- 2. The One Who fulfills the God's plan to bring those who believe into a kind of "fulness" in respect to the Joy of Life.
- C. It is identified in terms of the on-going provision of the power of redemption into the Joy of Life, "out from" the coming wrath.
- 1. That the participle is present tense ("is delivering") is interesting in that it keeps us from thinking in terms of the Cross or the Coming (a past or a future idea).
- 2. The implication is that there is a present condition that impacts the future coming of "wrath", and that Jesus is currently maintaining our freedom from that future "wrath".
- a. The condition seems to be what happens when a person is knocked off his feet in the battle of "service".
- b. Since there is no active "Judicial" reaction by God to His children in their failures, we need to look for a similar "happening" that is "like" Justice but that does not come from the hand of God against those who fail: the only similar condition of which I am aware is the Law of the Harvest which declares that if you sow it you will reap it.
- c. The present "deliverance", then, has something to do with what Jesus is doing to keep us "upright" in the battle so that we do not "sow" what we do not wish to "reap".
- 1) His ministry in the current age is "intercession" for the saints.
- 2) His ministry in the current age is "to keep hope alive".