The day of Christ is a prophetic event specifically referenced three times in the New Testament; the apostle Paul speaks of “the day of Christ,” “the day of Jesus Christ,” and “the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Other New Testament passages may allude to the day of Christ, but the use of this phraseology is unique to Paul’s writings. Let us examine these three passages within their proper scriptural context. The first is Philippians 1:3–6:
Besides assuring Christian believers of their eternal security, this passage teaches that the day of Christ marks the time when our sanctification will be complete. At long last, we will enjoy sinless perfection and dwell in resurrected, immortal, glorified bodies. In reference to this same bright future, John wrote, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2, ESV).
The next mention of “the day of Christ” is in Philippians 2:14–16:
From this passage, we can be assured that the difficulties believers face in a hostile, godless world will pass and that, in the day of Christ, the struggles will end for those who persevere. In another passage, the apostle Paul writes, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9, ESV).
The third and final of Paul’s references to “the day of Christ” is found in 1 Corinthians 1:4–8:
Again, the apostle Paul assures all believers of their eternal hope, for when the day of Christ comes, they will be counted among the redeemed. This blessed hope is also expressed in our Lord’s words, “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day” (John 6:39, ESV).
The day of Christ points to the time when our struggles end and victory over sin and death is no longer a promise, but a glorious reality. We believe the day of Christ begins at the rapture of the church and continues through the millennial reign. The day of Christ is a time of lavish promises fulfilled and decisive victories achieved—a time when believers no longer walk by faith but by sight, for our enemies will be our Lord’s footstool (Psalm 110:1).
The day of Christ is related to but probably distinguished from the day of the Lord. The day of the Lord is a time of judgment in which God pours out His consuming wrath upon a hostile, rebellious, unbelieving world:
The day of the Lord is a time of worldwide judgment; the day of Christ has to do with believers meeting Christ and receiving their heavenly inheritance. Thankfully, God’s people will not face the unleashing of God’s righteous fury when the day of the Lord comes (I Thessalonians 5:9). The day of the Lord is reserved for unrepentant sinners who refuse God’s mercy. The haughty and proud rebels who snub His mercy must face His judgment. By contrast, the day of Christ is a time of hope and promise and, indeed, a day of celebration. May we join King David in singing,