Speaker: Jerry Cisar
Have you ever been to a circus and seen the clown car routine? A small car roles into center ring. Out of the car, over the next few minutes, come clowns, and more clowns, and they just keep coming out—far beyond what one imagines could fit in the car. No trap doors below the car. In one case, it was a matter of over 200 hours of rehearsal to accomplish the act.
Paul’s closing in 1 Thessalonians is a bit that way. It’s a letter closing—in many ways, like our “sincerly,” or “best regards.” One author describes Paul’s letter closings as the “Rodney Dangerfield” section of his letters: they don’t get any respect. There is more in them than first meets the eye.
Two things have been constant themes in the letter: Growth in holiness (particularly sexual purity and love), and the Lord’s coming. These two themes come together in Paul’s closing. The goal of this letter is not merely for the Thessalonians to have a better grasp of end-time expectations (hope). The goal of this letter is not merely for the Thessalonians to have a greater understanding of why they need to be holy because of who they are. The goal of this letter is that we arrive holy and blameless, together, at Christ’s appearing.