1Th 5:8-11 “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”
There are things that should occupy the thoughts and actions of an active believer in Jesus Christ. Where we were once content to sleep and fill ourselves with worldly comfort (v. 7), we are now delivered to the light of day. Being found in the light, we should be discreet and watchful, understanding that we have need of defense.
Our protection is not in the things of the world. Our breastplate, which protects the main part of the body and most of the vital organs, is not made of iron and brass. Instead, we are enclosed with faith and love. We have an unshakable confidence in the power of our Lord Jesus to rescue us both here and for all eternity. Having experienced first-hand the power of His love, we learn to love others as He loves us.
Our helmet protects our head so that our thinking is clear and right concerning the truth of God. This helmet is fashioned from the hope we have in the power of Jesus to rescue us. The Greek word “elpis,” which is rendered as hope, means “expectation or confidence.” We do not wish for salvation: we have an expectation born of our love and faith in Jesus Christ and revealed in us by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Our confidence rests in the understanding that God has not purposed that we should bear His indignation. This is not a question of whether we deserve His wrath: all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). Paul testifies to us here that salvation has only one source, and it is not in us. Just as God has not appointed us to wrath, God has appointed us to deliverance. Both conditions are according to His purpose carried out in our Lord Jesus Christ.
What amazing grace is ours that we who are of the day understand that Jesus died for us! It is not about whether we wake (live in the light) or sleep (dwell in the dark). Although we should be sober, it is not about our discretion. While we should clothe ourselves in the protection of faith, love, and hope, this is not the determining factor. Waking or sleeping, obedient or disobedient, physically alive or corporeally dead, none of these things can separate us from Him (Rom 8:39). God has appointed that we should live together with Him.
When we who are of the day are in each other’s presence, our conversation turns to the Lord. Our common experience of being saved by grace is a bond that is not affected by gender or generational gaps. It is within our ability to comfort each other in the truth of Jesus Christ. It is our responsibility to edify (build up) one another. The nature of encouragement is such that the more we encourage each other the more we desire to encourage each other.
May we who revere our Lord speak often one to another, comforting and edifying each other as we think upon His name (Mal 3:16)!