1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
5 Brothers and sisters, we don’t have to write to you about times and dates. 2 You know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 People will be saying that everything is peaceful and safe. Then suddenly they will be destroyed. It will happen like birth pains coming on a pregnant woman. None of the people will escape. 4 Brothers and sisters, you are not in darkness. So that day should not surprise you as a thief would. 5 All of you are children of the light. You are children of the day. We don’t belong to the night. We don’t belong to the darkness. 6 So let us not be like the others. They are asleep. Instead, let us be wide awake and in full control of ourselves. 7 Those who sleep, sleep at night. Those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But we belong to the day. So let us control ourselves. Let us put the armor of faith and love on our chest. Let us put on the hope of salvation like a helmet. 9 God didn’t choose us to receive his anger. He chose us to receive salvation because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done. 10 Jesus died for us. Some will be alive when he comes. Others will be dead. Either way, we will live together with him. 11 So cheer each other up with the hope you have. Build each other up. In fact, that’s what you are doing.
Nobody likes the thought of a thief in the night. Although we don’t really expect it to happen to us, we consider that it could happen one day. So, we check that doors are locked before we go to sleep to protect ourselves and loved ones.
Jesus’ return will be like that. Unexpected. And threatening for some.
Like labour pains, Jesus’ return does not have an appointment set on our calendars, but his return is certain to happen.
For us, brothers and sisters, his return might come as a surprise, but we need not fear, as God has promised us eternal life with him. It is and was His intent to protect us from destruction. A life in light should give us a different perspective on Jesus return. Yet, there is tension between hope for ourselves and concern for people we love who don’t know the same hope. We can’t personally protect them, but we do know who can. It’s interesting that the promise of living together with Him is available for everyone, “whether awake or asleep” (v10). How do we live and awaken people to saving hope and faith?
This passage encourages and inspires us to live awake and alert. We should be marked by our encouragement and building up of each other. The way we live should demonstrate 3 key things – faith, love and hope:
faith and love worn right across our chests for all to see.
Hope, hope of salvation, on our head, and prominent in our thinking.
Written by Lyndall Gourlay