I’ve been posting about the last days as described by Paul in his first letter to the Thessalonians. My last post was about how we need to live as we see the end in view. Paul continues to share about it.
But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:8-11
He tells us to put on faith and love as a breastplate. As you know, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I believe that this is the oil and the lamp that we’re to keep burning. These are the two non-negotiable parts to serving God.
In this verse Paul is clearly referring to our spiritual armor. He even makes mention of the helmet of salvation. But instead of assigning righteousness as the breastplate, he says that faith and love are used in that role. Paul is telling us that it’s the combination of our faith and our love working together that completes our righteousness.
According to Scripture, without faith it’s impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6), and without love your faith is worthless (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). You have to use both of these spiritual commodities. You can’t live for God without faith and love.
And so, these fruit need to be evident in all of our good works. Everything we do for the Lord has to spring from faith and love. Paul is in total agreement with the teaching of the Lord as found in the Gospels.
Finally, we must have the hope, or literally, the expectation of salvation as a helmet. We have to expect the salvation of God. We know what’s going to happen. We know that God is going to rescue us, so we might as well live like it.
Paul said that we’re not appointed to wrath. According to the Lord’s own words, wrath was not going to fall until the Last Day. Before it fell, however, Jesus said that He would gather up His elect to Himself. All of this happens on the last day of the age, according to Jesus. The Church will be taken to safety first, and then the wrath of God will fall.
It’s clear from both the teaching of Christ Himself and Paul the Apostle that God did not appoint us to wrath. What Paul is saying here is that we who are alive in the last days – who see the signs approaching as labor pains – must not get worried as people who don’t have any hope.
We must realize that we have the helmet of salvation on. We’re not appointed to wrath, so when The Day gets here, we’re going to be protected.
Don’t worry about the future, even though you see problems coming. Be prepared. Be self-controlled. Be alert. Be working for God, but don’t be afraid.
The last thing we need to remember is to continue to encourage one another, to build one another up and to exhort one another as, in fact, we should be doing.
That’s what being a part of the church is all about. We must help each other in areas of weakness. It’s only as we work together that we’ll gain the victory.
Question: How does your future hope affect your walk with Christ today?
© Nick Zaccardi 2017