“And 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.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
It has been observed that this first-written of Paul’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 Christ’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. “. . . how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven” (1:9-10).
Then, in the second chapter, Paul speaks of soul-winning. “For 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?” (2:19).
Next, there is an emphasis on stability. “To 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 saints” (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. “Wherefore comfort [literally ‘strengthen’] one another with these words” (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