This section begins with the word “but” (compare with 4:13). This continues Paul’s discussion on the Final Return of Jesus. In this case the brethren are not ignorant (5:1), but Paul wants to remind them of what they had been taught.
In this section two groups of people are discussed.
The first is those in darkness. Paul says they will be unprepared for Christ’s return. They will think all of life is great and peaceful. It will surprise them like a thief at night and labor pains on a woman.
The second are those who are in the light, Christians. We know that Jesus will return. The question for us is: will we be prepared? This is Paul’s exhortation in this section. Notice the commands:
- Let us not sleep (5:6)
- Let us watch (5:6)
- Let us be sober (5:7)
The point Paul is making is since we know Jesus will return, then let’s live like it! We need to continue to prioritize faith, hope, and love (5:8; check with 1:3).
The basis for the exhortation is what God has done for us. When Christ returns we will not face wrath, but instead we will receive our salvation (5:9). This salvation was procured by the death of Jesus (5:10).
Paul concludes this section with a repeated phrase that he used in 4:13, “Comfort one another with these words.” He has completely reframed the Final Coming of Jesus for these people. They were viewing it as a sad event, because their dead loved ones would not join them. Paul shows them it should bring thoughts of encouragement and comfort. The Return of Jesus brings comfort to the faithful!
I see two applications, you add more. First, the preacher in me sees this as motivation to make sure people are not in darkness. There is an impetus in this to bring the light of the gospel to the world. Second, knowing that at the end of this world I have an eternity to spend with my Lord encourages me to live for Him.
What about you?
If you are new to the site then sign-up for the monthly newsletter. Also readers feel free to share posts and links with those you influence.