“You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.” 1 Thessalonians 5:5-6 (NKJ)
1st and 2nd Thessalonians are the first letters written to the early churches. These letters, written by the Apostle Paul, were different from his other letters and crafted for a more spiritually mature audience.
The church’s inquiries included questions concerning Christ’s Second Coming and what benefit were gained if Christians died before Christ returned to establish His kingdom. Since Paul couldn’t predict when Christ would return, he instead assured these early Christians that what matter more was how they live each day. Paul’s words are still relevant today. We must live each day as if Christ would return at any moment.
Paul begins chapter five by explaining the stark reality concerning the time of Christ’s second return. No one knows when it will occur! Not even the Son of God (Acts 1: 6-7). Paul describes Christ’s return as a “thief in the night” (v 2); as “sudden destruction” and as “travail upon a woman with child” (v. 3). While many have tried to estimate the time, it remains the business of the Father alone to determine when His Son will return. This is His prerogative as Creator of heaven and earth. Our times are in His hand (Ps. 75:2-5).
Paul uses the literary device of contrast and comparison to emphasis the distinct difference between how believers are to wait for Christ’s return versus nonbelievers. The brilliance and clarity of light and day is contrasted with the ambiguous character of night and darkness. Paul builds on this theme by depicting individuals “of the night” as those “who sleeps and are drunk”; “sons of light and day” are described as those who “watch and are sober” (v. 6), These differences would be easily understood by the readers of
Living in the 21st century, we are consumed by concern of “future things.” Political outcomes, financial predictions, and social posturing occupy too much of our waking hours. Like the church at Thessalonica, we are carefully assessing our options and prioritize our resources (financial and time) based on what “we hope” will give us the greatest return, But is our focus on the “right” future things? Are we showing adequate concern for our spiritual future? Will our current efforts net us the greatest spiritual return for our eternal souls? ln whose hand are you placing your “future hope”?
Modern technology offers to us “timely” information so that nothing will “catch us by surprise”. But Christ return will be different. There will be no blog or Facebook post to announce His return. There will be no tweet or unauthorized photo to publicize His arrival. We will simply have to watch, read “the signs” and wait (Matt 24:L-44; Mark 13:1-37; Luke 21:5-36).
Next week, we’ll explore how we are to live while we wait for Christ’s return-unless He comes first . In the meanwhile, when your thoughts become cloudy and anxious because of concern over “future things”, choose to walk in the light. Jesus is the Light.
“We’ll walk in the light, beautiful light! Come where the dew drops of mercy shine bright. Shine all around us by day and by night. Jesus, the Light of the world!”