|The earliest Christian text we possess is 1 Thessalonians, written sometime in the early fifties of the first century. Paul tells this little church, which he had founded, to be ready for the coming of the Savior: “Now may God himself, our Father, and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones” (1 Th 3:11-13).
Paul had seen the risen Jesus, and everything else in his life fell away. Everything he had considered central—the law, his livelihood, his own tradition—now appeared to him as “rubbish.” Everything was re-arranged around this new massive reality of a crucified man having come back from the dead.
The Resurrection meant that God was truly the Lord of history, that all of the suffering, anxiety, and injustice of the world would be conquered and that a new, transformed life was held out to us. And so now the obligation was clear and simple: start living life in accord with the coming Christ.
Wait and watch for him, for a new world is undoubtedly coming. Paul almost certainly felt that this new world would fully emerge in his own lifetime, but though he was wrong about that detail, his recommendation is of permanent value.
As Paul tells the Thessalonians, in light of Christ, risen from the dead, the old world is marginalized, disempowered, and passing away. And therefore, those who live in accord with Christ are, in fact, on the winning side.