God Is No Thief
"For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape." (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3)
1 Thessalonians is talking about when Christ will come back and take His followers to heaven. Christ's return to Earth will be a wonderful time in which God's victory over evil will be clear for everyone to see. But in reading these verses, it might be easy to get the wrong idea about what God is like. When you think about the Second Coming, do you think it sounds like God is going to sneak up on some people, rob and destroy them, when they least expect it?
Wait a minute! Could this be the same God Who is good, Who is love, Who is our Savior? Well, the answer is both "yes" and "no." This Bible passage is talking about the sudden and unexpected way God will choose to come back. Sadly, some people will feel fright, loss and destruction on the day Christ returns. These people are those unbelievers who did not believe and give their lives to God. They will be the ones who turned their back on Him and would not have faith in Jesus. These people will be shocked, and the things they hold dear will no longer matter. Everything they want to keep will be taken away from them, as if it were stolen. They will realize (too late!) that they were wrong about what really matters in life. For those people, the coming of the Lord will come as a shock. It will seem to them like a thief broke into their house in the middle of the night, taking everything important to them while they were sleeping. These people will be taken by surprise, just like a thief would surprise them. The Lord's coming will not be a nice thing for them. It will be scary and shocking and sad. They believed the lies the world told them and did not believe the truth.
But is this Bible passage trying to teach us that God is like some kind of robber? No. God is still good. He is still love. He is still the Savior. The Day of the Lord may come as a thief for some, in the sense that it will be unexpected and (for some) very bad. But God is no thief. God's timing might be unexpected, like the coming of a thief, but He Himself is kind. Satan is the real robber. Satan really is a thief, because he steals lives and destroys people.
For God's people, Christ's return will still come suddenly. But it will not be a "bad" kind of sudden-ness. No one knows the exact day when Christ will come, but believers will look forward to that day, not be afraid of it. We ought to feel about it like we feel about an old friend that is always welcome to stop by for a visit. You might say to a friend, "Drop in anytime! I'm always ready for your company. You do not have to call or make an appointment! My house and my life will always be as clean as possible and open to you. I will not be ashamed or frightened to let you in. I'm already waiting for your next visit." Do you think of Christ's return that way? Are you ready and waiting to see how the Lord will come back and to see what He is like in person?
Christ's return is sure, but it will be hard for some and happy for others.
» Do I really believe God's Word that Jesus is coming back one day?
» Am I looking forward to Christ's return, or does the thought of it just make me afraid or ashamed?
Truth In Real Life