God Glorified in His Saints (Mon. Nov. 28)

The word of the day is “glorified.”  Today with 2 Thessalonians 1:1-10, we begin to read St. Paul’s second letter to his congregation in Thessalonica, the important crossroads of Macedonia.  The apostle writes from Ephesus in about 51 AD within months of his first letter.  But now, he refers to the “persecutions and tribulations” that his congregation is undergoing (vs. 4).  He consoles his flock in this port city that their afflictions are evidence that they are worthy of the kingdom of God, the reign of God for which they now suffer (vs. 5). St. Paul assures the faithful that God will settle accounts with their persecutors and those who neither know Him nor obey the gospel.  God will carry…

The Church and the Temple: a Comparison (Sun. Nov. 27)

The word of the day is “temple.”  In our reading of Ephesians 2:14-22, St. Paul compares the Church to a holy temple built on a solid foundation.  Furthermore, he emphasizes that Christ is the Cornerstone that unites its members into a sacred dwelling place of God. In our reading, Paul draws the analogy between the building of the Old Testament temple in Jerusalem and the nature of the Church described in the New Testament.  There are three main comparisons:  the foundation, the Cornerstone, and the materials that “fitted together” that make up the building as a dwelling place for God. First, note that the Book of Hebrews speaks of the “tabernacle,” not the temple.  This “Tent of Meeting” was a…

The Church and the Temple: a Comparison (Sun. Nov. 27)

The word of the day is “temple.”  In our reading of Ephesians 2:14-22, St. Paul compares the Church to a holy temple built on a solid foundation.  Furthermore, he emphasizes that Christ is the Cornerstone that unites its members into a sacred dwelling place of God. In our reading, Paul draws the analogy between the building of the Old Testament temple in Jerusalem and the nature of the Church described in the New Testament.  There are three main comparisons:  the foundation, the Cornerstone, and the materials that “fitted together” make up the building as a dwelling place for God. First, note that the Book of Hebrews speaks of the “tabernacle,” not the temple.  This “Tent of Meeting” was a  portable…

Subtlety and Simplicity: a Contrast of Two Eves (Sat. Nov. 26)

The word for the day is “simplicity.”  In our reading of 2 Cor. 11:1-6, St. Paul expresses his concern about the false preachers in Corinth. He worries that their subtle arguments will deceive his flock. He writes, “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ (vs. 3). In this season of the Nativity Fast (Advent), we prepare for the Incarnation of the Son of God. When the angel appeared to the Virgin Mary, and she consented to become the Mother of God, she became the “New Eve” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3, 19, p. 130). The Opposites of Subtlety and Simplicity As the…

Appointed for Wrath or Salvation? (Fri, Nov. 25)

The word of the day is “appoint.”  In our reading of 1 Thessalonians 5:9-13, 24-28, St. Paul assures the congregation at Thessalonica of God’s benevolent intentions for them.  The Apostle writes, “For God did not appoint us to wrath but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (vs. 9).  Paul has just warned his flock against the sleep of complacency and carelessness as they wait for the return of Christ.  But he quickly adds that God has no desire to catch them in the darkness of sin (vs. 9). Paul reassures the believers in this bustling city that they are not appointed to “wrath.”  The Greek word for “wrath” refers to the strongest of passions, the burning anger of…

Appointed for Wrath or Salvation? (Fri, Nov. 25)

The word of the day is “appoint.”  In our reading of 1 Thessalonians 5:9-13, 24-28, St. Paul assures the congregation at Thessalonica of God’s benevolent intentions for them.  The Apostle writes, “For God did not appoint us to wrath but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ”(vs. 9).  Paul has just warned his flock against the sleep of complacency and carelessness as they wait for the return of Christ.  But he quickly adds that God has no desire to catch them in the darkness of sin (vs. 9). Paul reassures the believers in this bustling city that they are not appointed to “wrath.”  The Greek word for “wrath” refers to the strongest of passions, the burning anger of extreme…

Children of the Light and of the Day (Thurs. Nov. 24)

The word of the day is “light.”  In our reading of 1 Thessalonians 5:1-8, St. Paul writes that the day of the Lord’s return will surprise many who are heedless and unprepared.  But not his congregation.  They are “sons of light and sons of the day” (vs. 5:5).  They live in the daytime of Christ’s light.  Even so, Paul admonishes them to stay awake, sober, vigilant, and ready to greet the Lord when He comes as Lord and Judge of the world. Paul’s declaration that the faithful are children of the light arises naturally from the thought that the Lord will come “like a thief in the night” (vs. 2).  The analogy of the burglar who breaks into a house…

A Quiet Life in a Noisy Society (Wed. Nov. 23)

The word of the day is “quiet.” In our reading of 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12, St. Paul gives some practical advice for living in a world of noisy frenzy such as ours. The Apostle writes, “… that you aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands as we commanded you (vs. 10). In Paul’s day, the city of Thessalonica was the hub of Greece’s government,  politics, commerce, military, and culture. It was a multi-racial and cosmopolitan city at the crossroad of prosperous East-West and North-South trading routes. Moreover, it was a flourishing port city on the Aegean Sea. Living a Quiet Life Amid the Frenzy Imagine how turbulent life was in…

Hearts Blameless at the Coming of Christ (Tues. Nov. 22)

The word of the day is “blameless.”  In our reading of 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13, St. Paul prays that God would enable his congregation at Thessalonica to grow in their love for one another.  He writes, “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you” (vs. 12).  He adds the prayer that the result of this growth would be that God may “establish their hearts, blameless in holiness…” (vs. 13) . To be found without fault before God is the goal that our reading suggests as we begin our Nativity Fast.  We are setting our sights on the “coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all the…

The First and Second Appearing of the Lord (Mon. Nov. 21)

The word of the day is “coming.”  In our reading of 1 Thessalonians 2:20-3:8, St. Paul expresses his affection for his congregation at Thessalonica.  The Apostles writes, “For you are our glory and joy” (vs. 20).  However, Paul is concluding the thought of the preceding sentence, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing?  Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?  For you are our glory and joy” (vs. 19-20). The Royal Visit of a King Paul is thinking of the “coming” of the Lord Jesus Christ, using the Greek word “parousia.”  This technical term refers to the royal visit of a king.  It is derived from the thought…