August 18, 2010
Building Strong Friendships in Christ
Living God’s Destiny Today
“For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Thessalonians 5:9, Page 1850
I talk with homeless men at the beach almost every day. One man I met told me that he planned on going to hell, and he could not change his destiny. He thought of himself as a good man, who helped others often. He said he did not have much himself, but he got along with his friends and did the best he could in life. Everything about this man personifies the spiritual blindness that so many unbelievers use to view the future. As believers, we must understand our destiny in Christ and how it must influence our daily life. Jesus as Savior offers salvation to all men, and does not wish for any to perish, but all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9, page 1902).
Every unbeliever lives under the wrath of God (John 3:36, page 1659) and the judgment of God (John 3:18, page 1658). Believers have the assurance that God does not pour His wrath out upon them, because we have salvation in our Lord Jesus Christ.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:9, page 1850, Paul has just finished detailing how wrath will come upon the world for their unbelief. While they proclaim “Peace and Safety,” destruction will come suddenly upon them (1 Thessalonians 5:3, page 1850).
Notice the words “God destined.” This word destined (“ἔθετο“) means a deliberate act of God, with the idea of placing, setting, or positioning something. In this case, God positions us for salvation, not wrath. The verb emphasizes that God does it Himself, and the work has been completed already. In other words, God has already fixed your destiny, and it is to obtain salvation when everyone else suffers from His wrath. All humanity looks forward to just two destinies: (1) the wrath of God for eternity; or (2) deliverance from the wrath of God by receiving forgiveness from Jesus Christ, resulting in eternal life and eternal salvation.
When you become concerned that no one looks after your personal welfare, think again. God has fixed your life by His power. He keeps you in the palm of His hand and knows how everything will turn out. While the earth suffers wrath at the day of the Lord, you will be obtaining the salvation you have longed for. The Lord Jesus Christ will exercise His full regal authority to save you from destruction, and keep you in His love forever.
As a passing note, one of the reasons we hope in the coming of Christ to the clouds centers upon this verse. God has not determined that His Church should go through the tribulation period, when God pours out His wrath upon the earth. Instead, God gathers believers in Christ to Himself first, and then then He begins the earnest judgment of the earth for its unbelief and other evil actions. But for the believers, he destined us for obtaining salvation. What a great blessing for us.
So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.
● Strong bonds of friendship form when we live according to our destiny of salvation.
● Strong bonds of friendship grow when we encourage our friends in Christ to realize our unbelieving friends and families are destined for wrath and so we should speak to them now.
● We harm our bonds of friendship when we let live in denial of our destiny in Christ: salvation and deliverance from wrath.
Application for Today
Today, I want to remember my destiny, and the destiny of all my friends in Christ. Together, we will escape God’s wrath and enjoy His salvation for eternity. God has destined each man to eternal salvation or eternal wrath. I want to live before my friends according to the destiny of salvation, showing everyone the long-ball picture of life and hope. Will your destiny influence your actions in Christ today?