Saturday in the Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Caught Unawares

The Apostle continues his teaching on our Lord’s return, specifically, the time when he should come and how that should affect our living in the present.  The first thing Paul would have us know, and which he says the Thessalonians understood as well, is that our Lord’s return (scholars call it after the Greek word, parousia) cannot be predicted with any exactness.  It comes “like a thief in the night.”  Now I don’t think that that means believers will have no word from the Spirit at all as that Day fast approaches.  It seems that throughout the Scriptures God warns his people of impending future events, and I would think that such warnings would certainly precede the next great event on the prophetic calendar.  Still, there is no knowing exact dates and those behave very foolishly who think that they can wrench secrets hidden in the Bible depths about such matters when we are plainly told we cannot know (Matthew 24:36).

Instead, Paul uses the coming of our Lord, which could happen today, to exhort the Thessalonians to holy living.  The very reason why that day will not catch believers unawares is because they are “children of light.”  They do not “sleep” as unbelievers, that is, living for the moment, for this world, unaware and unconcerned about spiritual matters.  Unbelievers have their minds focused on things below.  But Christians behave in a “sober” manner—serious, godly, devout.  They have numbered their days and know that time is short, whether they meet the Lord in the air or die of natural causes (Psalm 90:12).  They put on faith, love, and hope, knowing that whatever comes and no matter the difficulties the times may bring, “God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  The Apostle John uses the coming of the Lord to encourage believers to live godly lives as well: “We know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.  And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1 John 3:2-3).

Not so, the unbelievers.  When they say, “Peace and security, then sudden destruction will come upon them.”  The Book of Revelation concurs that just before the end, pagans will think that they have ushered in heaven on earth through a one-world government ruled by an almost superhuman man (antichrist).  They will think, no more wars, no more human suffering, that mankind has arrived, ignorance (by which they mean morality) finally conquered and licentiousness counted as virtue—a veritable heaven on earth—ancient Rome reincarnated.  But you, set your mind on things above.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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