Key Verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:9,10 “For God did not appoint us to wrath but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.”
Paul continues his teaching about the return of Christ. He points out the futility of attempting to place a time and date on the Lord’s return. Regardless, there have always been those who have “figured it out” (in terms of attributing numerical values to various Scriptural references arbitrarily, or in terms of some extra-biblical “revelation”), and there have always been those who believe them. History has seen more than a few groups gathered on some mountain top, dressed in white, expecting the return of Christ at a specific time. Every time, they come down off the mountain disappointed and read the Bible. Jesus Himself said we couldn’t “figure it out,” and Paul says the same thing here. So why do we insist on trying anyway? Jesus will come “as a thief in the night,” says Paul. In other words, it will be a major surprise.
Nevertheless, we are to expect Him at all times. We are to “watch and be sober” (v.6), “alert and self-controlled” (v.6 NIV). Why? Because we are to understand that the Lord’s return won’t be a happy time for all. For those who have not put their trust in Jesus, the Day of the Lord will be a fearful one. If our sin is not covered by the blood of Christ, we will be subject to God’s “wrath.” He is angry at sin, and because He is just and holy, a penalty must be paid — and “the wages of sin is death.”
But for those who are “awake” or “asleep” in Christ, the Day of the Lord will be one of great joy. For we will “live together with Him” — always!