ARE YOUR BAGS PACKED?
Lord, we await Your return.
Read 1 THESSALONIANS 5:1–11
The Day of the Lord
5 Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘The Second Coming of Christ was thought of as “doomsday” preaching. Not any more. It is the only ray of hope that shines as an ever-brightening beam.’ (Franklin Graham, Billy Graham in Quotes, Thomas Nelson, 2011)
Paul’s major concern here is how the Thessalonian believers should live in the present while awaiting the Lord’s return. He presses upon them certain contrasts – between day and night, being awake and sleeping, remaining sober and being drunk. This is to emphasize his earlier explanation that God’s will for his people is that we should be sanctified or set apart (1 Thess 4:3a). The nearer comes the ‘day of the Lord’ (2), the greater becomes this imperative. The phrase ‘the times and the seasons’ (1, AV) served then, as now, the idea of the approaching end of the age. How different are the seasons where you live? In my part of the British Isles the four seasons are very clearly marked and their differences announce the march of time. Paul wants his readers to feel the passing of the age and the lateness of the hour. That sense of urgency should grip us even more today.
The Day of the Lord reflects an Old Testament expectation that the Lord will deal with the enemies that confront His people. From its earliest mention (Amos 5:18) this will be a time of judgment, although other scriptures make clear a positive perspective too (Isaiah 19:19–25; 25:6–9). This day will arrive suddenly like a thief in the night (Luke 12:38–40) and catch many unaware. When the birth of our son came close, we had a bag packed and a plan made for how we would get to the hospital, night and day. We were ready. How ready are you for the second coming of Christ?
We should not only be ready, we should expect a battle. Paul evokes the picture of the armor of God as in Ephesians (1 Cor 13). Faith, hope, and love are key components of readiness. The cross of Christ gives us encouragement and something with which to build others up too.
In Paul’s famous trilogy of faith, hope, and love (1 Cor 13), love is greatest. How should love change the way we live in our readiness to greet the returning Christ?
Lord, what a comfort it is to know that whether we wake up or not each morning, our future is eternity with You.
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