From McLean Rabb
Within 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 we find Paul responding to questions that perhaps you have pondered: When will Jesus come back? Rather than satisfy their burning curiosities, Paul provides truth and encouragement that we constantly need to hear. For Paul the essential knowledge is not "when", but rather "who." Do we know who we are and how we are to live in light of Christ and His return? Paul affirms "who" the Thessalonians are: "children of the light....[who have been destined] to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that...we might live with Him" (vv. 5, 9). How incredibly blessed - that is YOU! As opposed to being children of darkness (the world) destined for sudden destruction, our identity is as children of light (God), destined and welcomed in to living in eternal communion with Christ (and thus the Trinity) by the power of Christ's death and resurrection through the Spirit. Amen!
In light of "who" they are, Paul also exhorts how the Thessalonians are to live as they await the return of Christ: "keep awake and be sober....put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation....[and] encourage one another and build one another up...." (vv. 6, 7, 11). We are not to be passive or "asleep" in our faith, but rather we are to be sober, alert, and active. We are to wear (keep close) faith, hope, and love. As we wait for Christ's return we trust Him with our lives, believing His promises. We love Him and others as He has loved us. We hope in the unseen hope of salvation and eternal communion with the Triune God in His Kingdom (to be fully revealed at Christ's return). Lastly, we are to encourage one another in this faith, hope, and love, building each other up in our identity and hope in Christ.
At this point the question is how? How do we remember our identity and live as we are called to in Christ? I believe Psalm 119 has the beautiful and simple answer: God's Word. Within Psalm 119 we see the psalmist continually reference God's Word as a source of joy, truth, guidance, hope amidst trials, and so much more. The psalmist loves God's Word to the point of meditating on it in the early morning, in the watches of the night, and praising God seven times a day for His Word (vv. 147, 148, 164). God's Word is rich with truth on who He is, who we are in Him, how He loves, and how we are to live in Him. If we were to love and pursue the Spirit-inspired and Spirit-illuminated Word with the passion and faith of the psalmist we would indeed be more rooted in our identity, the hope of Christ, and faithful living.
"Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord." Deut. 8:3
I pray we be a Church who consistently seeks and loves God's Word, letting it truly be written on our hearts. I pray that in being rooted in God's Word the Spirit would allow us to be more deeply and thankfully aware of our identity as God's children, destined for salvation and resurrection by the power of Christ's resurrection and the provision of the Holy Spirit. May this deeper awareness of our true identity push us to live more faithfully as a people united with Christ through the Spirit. Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
I am a redeemed son of Triune God, husband to the beyond-amazing Mary Moore, and student who reads more books than is healthy in Seminary (I just finished year 1!). I enjoy long hikes in the mountains, serenading my unwilling apartment neighbors with my guitar, and rooting on the San Antonio Spurs (va Spurs va!).