1 Thes.1: 8-10 – For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place the news of your faith toward God has gone out, so that we have no need to say anything. For they themselves report about us as to the kind of reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is, Jesus who rescues us from the wrath to come.
I love the simplicity of 1 Thessalonians. It is possibly Paul’s first epistle, written in the early days of his apostolic ministry. It is written to young Christians who are suffering persecution and yet persevering. They had set their hope on the return of Christ, and Paul is writing this letter to encourage them. In the last part of this passage quoted today, Paul says that Jesus rescues us from the wrath to come. He is describing the approaching wrath of God. He uses an interesting word, rhuomai, translated rescues in today’s text. It means “to draw, drag along the ground. To draw or snatch from danger, rescue, deliver.” This is more with the meaning of drawing to oneself than merely rescuing from someone or something.” The way the Lord delivers us from persecution as well as His coming judgement is the same; He draws us to Himself.
I love this, first – the whole world lies in the crosshairs of the coming judgement of God. Jesus repeatedly said that the time of His return would be just like it was in the days of Noah. The hearts of mankind were consumed by sin. Jesus also said that the last days would be just like Sodom and Gomorrah. The judgement came on those cities because of sexual immorality and perversion. The promise Paul was giving by the Spirit was that Jesus delivers us from the wrath to come.
Just as it was in Thessalonica, the spirit of the world hates the church. The church reminds the forces of darkness of the coming judgement. Jesus also rescues us from the attacks from the world by drawing us to Himself. In times of pushback against God’s people, the Lord strengthens us with the incredible joy of His presence. He is rescuing us from the wrath to come, as well as empowering us in the midst of persecution.