1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 ESV
Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
What is “the day of the Lord”? From what I understand, it is the day when Jesus Christ returns to the earth to judge the people of the earth and to take his church, his bride to be with him forever.
At this time, the dead in Christ will rise first, and then those of us who are alive and remaining will be caught up with them to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with our Lord (See: 1 Thess. 4:13-18). Then our salvation will be complete, and our marriage relationship with Jesus Christ will be consummated.
But, not everyone is prepared for the Lord’s coming again. For, not everyone has truly trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives. And, among these there are many people who are convinced that they will never have to face God’s wrath, or they believe that no such wrath will ever occur. So, they feel secure that nothing like that will ever happen to them, and so they feel, thus, that they can just eat, drink and be merry.
And, sadly enough, among those who believe thus, there are many who profess faith in Jesus Christ. And, that is because they have been told that all they have to do is repeat some words after someone else in a prayer, or all they have to do is just “receive Jesus into their hearts,” or that all they have to do is just acknowledge who Jesus is and what he did for us in dying on a cross for our sins, and just accept (receive) his grace.
And, then they are congratulated that they are now children of God, that heaven is guaranteed them when they die, and that nothing can ever take that away from them, no matter what – no matter what they do with Christ from this moment forward, and no matter how they live their lives.
For, they have been lied to and led to believe that no repentance, no surrender to Christ as Lord, and no obedience to his commands are required for their salvation and their eternal security with Christ. So, they think they are “in,” they are “good to go,” and that how they live doesn’t really matter, for at the end of their lives they get to go to heaven, and then all is good.
And, in the meanwhile, following the Lord in obedience, for them, is optional, or it is a mere suggestion, or it is even discouraged and railed against, claiming that honoring God by following him in his ways is works-based salvation, and it is thus bad.
So, evil ends up being called “good” while good ends up being called evil. So, since they have now been told “peace and security,” i.e. that they can live how they want and still go to heaven when they die, they are convinced they will never see God’s wrath. Thus, it will overtake them like a thief in the night, and they will be shocked. But, they will not escape God’s wrath.
1 Thessalonians 5:4-8 ESV
But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.
But, we who truly have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, who have been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and who have been resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, to be lived to his righteousness, are not in darkness that this day should overtake us.
For, we are not still walking (in lifestyle, in practice) according to our sinful natures, for Jesus set us free from our slavery to sin. Amen! And, he has freed us and empowered us to now become bond-servants of his righteousness and holiness – all glory to God! So, we are no longer living (in practice) to please our old sinful natures, but we are living by the Spirit to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to God, and all because of God’s grace.
For, God’s grace to us is not a free license to continue living in (conducting our lives in) sin while claiming heaven as our eternal destiny. God’s grace, which brings salvation, instead teaches (commands) us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await our Lord’s return. This is the true grace of God.
Yet, this serves as a warning to all who profess faith in Jesus Christ that we can’t walk in the darkness and still claim heaven as our eternal destiny. If we claim to have fellowship with God, but we still walk in the darkness, then we are liars who do not live by the truth (1 Jn. 1:5-9; also Tit. 2:11-14).
Wrong vs. Right
Instead of having this idea that we can just eat, drink and be merry, we are to be serious about God, about the Lordship of Christ, about the truths of God’s Word, and about holiness and righteousness. We are not to take God’s grace for granted or to take it lightly, as some do, or to think that we can go on living in sin now that we are “saved,” because God’s grace covers it all.
Rather, we are to daily, by the Spirit, be putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and daily we are to be putting on the armor of God (Eph. 6:10-20) with which to fight off Satan’s temptations and his evil schemes against us.
The protection for our hearts, against all evil, is our faith, which is God-given, and which is God-persuaded. For, we cannot even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless the Father first draws us. And, if our faith is of God, which it must be for us to be saved, then it will submit to God, and it will surrender to the Lordship of Christ and to his holiness and righteousness.
And, it is the love of God, first and foremost the love he has for us, but then it is the love he gives to us with which to love him back and with which to love other people. And, this kind of love prefers what God prefers, which is what is holy, just, honest, pure, moral and upright. Thus, it will not do what is against God and his holiness, or that which will cause harm to others. And, it is obedient to Christ and his commandments. So, this love will be holy, honest, and faithful, etc. and it will not make sin its practice (habit).
The protection for our minds, as well, is the hope of our salvation. And, what is that hope? It is the belief that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. It is the belief, too, that in his death he put our sin to death so that we might be delivered out of our bondage (addiction) to sin, and so that we might, empowered by the Spirit, walk in his righteousness.
1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 ESV
For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
Some people misinterpret what this is saying, and they take this as a guarantee that they will never face the wrath of God because they have professed faith in Jesus Christ. But, in context, this is a cautionary statement. And, it is cautioning all professers of faith in Jesus Christ against the reasoning that says a mere profession of faith guarantees them that they will never have to face God’s wrath.
It is cautioning all professers of faith in Jesus Christ against taking his grace lightly and against taking his warnings in scripture lightly, too. For, the whole purpose of this statement, I believe, is to let all who would hear this know that God’s intention for his followers is that they not face his divine wrath in final judgment, but that they obtain his eternal salvation.
But, the scriptures are real clear on what all is involved in the kind of faith that is required for us to have eternal life with God, and salvation from sin, and the hope of eternal life with God. And, what it all comes down to, in essence, is our faith in Jesus being lived out in our lives in practice consistently until the day that Jesus returns to take us home to be with him.
This is not saying we will be perfect here on this earth, or that we will never sin against God. But, it is saying that if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God.
But, if we walk according to the Spirit, and by the Spirit we are putting to death the misdeeds of the body, then we have that promise and that hope of eternal life with God. And, then we will not face God’s wrath, his final judgment, but we will be with our Lord forever (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 4:17-24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21).
Jesus, Lead Me
An Original Work / July 22, 2011
Jesus, lead me all the way.
Be my hope and be my stay.
Gently lead me where I should go,
So Your Spirit, I want to know.
Open up my heart to You.
Fill me with Your love and truth.
Make my heart want to obey.
Be my Lord today. Gently lead always.
Jesus, lover of my soul,
Cleanse my heart, and make me whole;
Be transformed in my heart today,
As I turn from my sin and pray.
Make Your will known to my heart.
May I not from You depart.
How I long to hear You now,
As I humbly bow. Jesus, hear me now.
Tuesday, May 7, 2019