People of Salvation
People of Salvation
Words of Faith 4-3-19
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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1 Thessalonians 5
 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.
It is not God's intention that Christian believers should suffer the wrath of God. God's wrath was poured out upon Jesus, our Savior so that we would not have to endure it. The wrath of God is not for believers. Period. God's intention for them is not the wrath that will come on the earth in the day of the Lord, but the full salvation that will be theirs when the Lord returns for them in the clouds.
The wrath of God that is referenced here clearly points to what is known as the Tribulation. The context makes this apparent. Deliverance from that wrath is God's appointment for believers. This temporal salvation comes through the Lord Jesus Christ just as does eternal salvation. While believer may experience the ‘birth pangs’ leading to this time, the wrath of God will not be poured out upon them.
What did Paul mean by ‘whether we are awake or asleep’? Did he mean "whether we are alive or dead," or "whether we are spiritually alert or lethargic"? It seems that he meant the latter because he used the same Greek words for "awake" and "asleep" as he used in verse 6, where they clearly meant spiritually alert and spiritually lethargic.
If this is so, then Paul's point is that Christians are assured of life together with Him, whether they are spiritually watchful or not. That they might live with Christ was His purpose in dying for them. They will escape God's wrath whether they are watchful or not.
Paul made it clear that Christ died to save us, not that He was killed. Jesus Christ laid down His life. No man took it from Him. Jesus said, "No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father" (John 10:18).
Jesus died for us. "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Cor. 5:21). This is the simple substitutionary nature of the death of Christ. It required no great elaboration for the Thessalonians. Paul had emphasized this central doctrine when he first taught them in person. It is foundational.
The practical application of all this is that we are to encourage and build up (edify) one another. Paul's own encouragement and edification in this letter were not enough. This new instruction needed constant repetition and re-emphasis. It was to be added to the body of truth they already had received, and as they were encouraging each other in their meetings and in private conversations about other revealed truth they were to include this great truth as well.
Believers do not need to be hearing something new all the time, but they often do need to remind themselves of what they already know so that they do not forget it. This verse gives some insight into the meetings of the early church. They included opportunity for mutual edification among the believers. Mutual encouragement and edification are still needed in every local church. And encouragement and edification concerning their hope in Christ's return is especially needed.
As one of the saved, are you encouraging others? Are you edifying the other believers? Are you always looking for something new, or are you encouraging others with the truths of the faith that are our hope?
Father, thank You for the gift of salvation in eternity and from Your wrath that is to come. Help me in this time of history to encourage and edify others. In Jesus' name.