Day of Christ

The coming of Jesus is not a major topic in Paul's letters to the Corinthians though it is in his Thessalonian correspondence. However, he does touch on several aspects of the event, including its identification as the “Day of the Lord,” the consummation of God’s kingdom, the resurrection of the righteous, the judgment of the wicked, and the cessation of death.

He begins his first letter by thanking God for His grace, and Paul puts the proper perspective on spiritual gifts by pointing to the expectation of Christ’s return.

Dawn Dover - Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash
[Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash]

  • (1 Corinthians 1:4-9) - “I am giving thanks to my God at all times concerning you… That you come short in no gift of grace, ardently awaiting the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who will also confirm you unto the end, unimpeachable in the DAY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. Faithful is God through whom you have been called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Rather than overvalue spiritual gifts, believers must remember they are still waiting for the much fuller glories that will be dispensed at his “revelation” on the “Day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The term rendered “revelation” translates the Greek noun apokalupsis, meaning “revelation, disclosure, unveiling” - (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10, Luke 17:30, 1 Peter 1:13, 1 Peter 4:13).

The English word “unimpeachable” translates a legal term applied to someone against whom legal charges could no longer be leveled (anegklĂ©tosStrong’s - #G410). On the “Day of Christ,” no one will bring charges against believers in God’s court since He has “confirmed” them.

In Paul’s writings, the “Day of our Lord Jesus Christ” becomes synonymous with the “Day of the Lord” in the Hebrew Bible, the day when Yahweh would deliver His people and judge His enemies. By adding “Jesus Christ” to the phrase, Paul centers this ancient hope in him - (Amos 5:18-20, Joel 2:31, Philippians 1:6, 2:16, 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 2 Peter 3:10).

Paul wrote of the coming day when each man’s work would be examined to see whether it was built on the proper foundation. Again, that judgment will occur on the “Day of the Lord” - (1 Corinthians 3:13-15).

The Apostle dealt with inappropriate attitudes in the congregation. Some members were questioning his teachings and apostolic authority. He responded by employing the image of household servants. As a faithful “steward,” Paul was entrusted with the “mysteries” of God - (1 Corinthians 4:3-5).

However, he was accountable only to the Master of the household, and therefore, the evaluation of him by the Corinthians was of no consequence. Only the judgment of Jesus mattered, and his valuation would become evident when he arrived.

Paul dealt with a shameful incident that brought the congregation into disrepute. A member was having sexual relations with his stepmother. While fornication and adultery were common in Greco-Roman society, engaging in sex with one’s stepmother was beyond the pale even for pagans. Rather than boast of their spirituality, he exhorted the Corinthians to “mourn” that such an egregious sinner was in their midst - (1 Corinthians 5:4-5).

He admonished the Assembly to expel this man so that his “spirit may be saved ON THE DAY OF THE LORD.” The “destruction of the flesh” would become part of his remedial process. The result Paul hoped for was the offender’s repentance and salvation on the “Day of the Lord.”

Paul next mentioned the “coming” of Jesus in his discussion on proper behavior during the Lord’s Supper in consideration of his impending arrival. He combined the commemoration of Christ’s death with the promise of his return. By eating the bread and drinking the wine, the congregation was proclaiming his death “until he comes,” linking the two events - (1 Corinthians 11:24-26).

AT HIS COMING


Paul responded to men who were denying the future resurrection by arguing from the past resurrection of Jesus.  If there was no future resurrection, then “not even Christ has been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, void is our proclamation, void also our faith” - (1 Corinthians 15:22-28).

In Chapter 15, he presented the general order of final events leading up to the arrival of Jesus. He was the “first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” – the first participant in the larger resurrection, and therefore, his past resurrection was foundational to the future resurrection of the believer.

Since death came into existence through a man, Adam, so “through a man,” Christ, came the raising of the dead. Just as “in Adam, all died,” so in Jesus, all would be made alive - (1 Thessalonians 1: 2:19, 3:13, 4:15, 5:23, 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 2:8).

The resurrection will occur at the “arrival” or Parousia of Jesus. Not only so, but the raising of the dead will mean nothing less than “the end” of Death itself. All this will occur after Jesus “delivers up the kingdom to his God and Father, whenever he brings to nothing all rule and all authority and power,” including the “last enemy” – Death.

Beach Sunrise - Photo by George Kourounis on Unsplash
[Photo by George Kourounis on Unsplash]

In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul refers several times to the “
Day of the Lord Jesus,” and he describes its key aspects. First, he expects only one future coming of Jesus. Second, his “arrival” will occur on the “Day of the Lord.” Third, it will include the examination of the righteous. Fourth, Jesus will “arrive” after he subjugates all his enemies. Fifth, his coming will include the bodily resurrection of the righteous dead and the cessation of death, and the believer’s resurrection is based on the past Death and Resurrection of Christ.

All this will occur on the coming “Day of our Lord Jesus Christ” at the end of the present age when he is “revealed” from Heaven.



RELATED POSTS:
  • The Ends of the Ages - (The Apostle Paul linked the commencement of the Last Days to the death and resurrection of Jesus, the hinge on which History has turned)
  • Final Events - (In explaining the future resurrection, Paul lists key events that will precede or coincide with the arrival of Jesus at the end of the age)
  • Terminating Death - (The arrival of Jesus at the end of the age will mean the end of the Last Enemy, namely, Death - 1 Corinthians 15:24-28)

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