In His Letters to the Thessalonians (continued)
A Help to Know One's Own Disposition (continued)
Is that good news? I think it is. I think that is the gospel, "good tidings". It is good tidings for the man who is always too ready to drop out and give up and be miserable. It is good tidings to those who, because of their own natural expectations and reactions, are disappointed in what is actually happening. It is good tidings that Christ is something other than we are, and that we can be saved from what we are by Christ. It is very practical, you see. How are we saved from what we are? By Christ! Not by Christ just coming and putting out His hands and pulling us up. That is what we are all wanting Him to do. We are appealing to the Lord to come and do something like that, literally lift us right out of where we are. What He is doing is displacing us, and putting Himself in our place in an inward way. It is a process, and it is perhaps only over years that you can see more of Christ. That person used to be such-and-such a one, but there is a difference now, you can see Christ now; they are no longer what they used to be, they are getting over that. They are being "changed into the same image". That is good news: good news for the Thessalonians, and good news for us.
The Test At the End
But there is one other thing with these Thessalonians. Things in the world were becoming increasingly difficult; they were going from bad to worse. These dear people saw things happening, they saw forces at work, and they thought: "This does not look as though the Lord is coming, as though His Kingdom is coming. It looks as though satan is having it all his own way. Things are going from bad to worse; and as to things being changed, as to there being "a new heaven and a new earth" and a new world state, all this that we have thought would come with the coming of Christ and His Kingdom, we do not see any sign of it at all. Rather is it going the other way: the world is getting worse, evil men are waxing worse and worse. There seems to be more and more of the devil than ever there was."
(continued with # 46)