I Thessalonians 5: Be Prepared

This chapter is the encouraging conclusion to Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians.

Verses 1-11: Thief in the Night

Paul encourages the Thessalonians to be prepared for the day of the Lord, or judgment day. This is the day when Jesus returns and individuals will be judged for their sins. He must have already told them that this day comes unexpectedly, as he says, “For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.” I Thessalonians 5:2

The idea is that mankind will not in any way know or anticipate the Lord’s return. This fact introduces is to many different truths and evidences for living a faithful life 100% of the time:

• Living faithfully should not occur during separate phases of life, but we should dedicate ourselves to honor God and His commandments each moment

• Fear and respect of God’s all-knowingness motivates us to an even life of obedience

• God’s perspective on our diminutive lives stresses the fact that we are only in control of our eternal destiny in connection with our obedience to His commandments

• The very moment when man considers himself safe and protected is the moment when he is most vulnerable

We are to wear (remember) faith, love and righteousness as a way to protect our souls. Looking out for one another, as was admonished in a previous chapter, is also a great help for us as we travel life’s long road.

This encouragement is very similar in language and tone to what we find from Peter in II Peter 3:10-11: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness.”

Verses 12-28: Holy Exhortations

Building on the previous ideas, the letter now goes into specifics on just what the young Christians should do in order to remain faithful. Paul lists out the following:

• Recognize and value their teachers/preachers

• Be at peace among themselves

• Warn the unruly

• Comfort the fainthearted

• Uphold the weak

• Have patience with all people

• Do not seek revenge; seek goodness

• Rejoice always

• Pray always

• Heed the Holy Spirit

• Listen to prophecies

• Test the truth

• Cling to goodness

• Abstain from evil

Paul concludes the letter with tender love that we can still detect in the words. His love for these Christians is inspiring and provides us with an excellent example:

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

This book and chapter are thus concluded with what has been a delicate and steady concern from Paul, Silas and Timothy. The letter was to be read in front of all the brethren at Thessalonica.

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