Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 1 Study # 3
January 25, 2015
4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as [do
] others; but let us watch and be sober.
7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
1901 ASV Translation
4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief:
5 for ye are all sons of light, and sons of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness;
6 so then let us not sleep, as do the rest, but let us watch and be sober.
7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that are drunken are drunken in the night.
8 But let us, since we are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.
9 For God appointed us not unto wrath, but unto the obtaining of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
10 who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
- I. Paul's Contrasting Reality.
- A. You are not in darkness.
- 1. The statement contrasts with Paul's "in Christ" description of those who are justified by God during the "time" of the Church (4:16 -- "the dead 'in Christ' ".)
- a. This is a "positional" declaration regarding the realm in which they exist (not darkness as the precursor of the night period of The Day of the Lord; not Adam as the 'communicating head' of the human race who 'communicated' his sin so that it corrupted all of his progeny).
- 1) As a "positional" declaration, this is not some kind of ethereal location that exists only in the mind of God, it is a 'location' that brings with it all of the characteristics of that location.
- a) In regard to a location called "darkness", the chief locational characteristic is susceptibility to the "thief" character of The Day of Destruction.
- b) In regard to a location called "Christ", the chief locational characteristic is the promised Spirit and all of his attendant abilities, determinations as to how to bring us to maturity, and personal activities (such as praying for us according to the will of God: Romans 8:26).
- 2) Believers are immune to the destruction of the Day of the Lord.
- b. The most obvious implication is this: since you are not "in darkness", the things that the darkness brings with it do not apply to you.
- 2. This declaration addresses one primary reality: The Day of the Lord will not have any significant, actual impact upon those not "in darkness".
- a. All who are in the darkness will be subjected to the events that happen "in the darkness", the chiefest of which is The Day of Unexpected Destruction.
- b. Those who are not "in" the darkness are exempt from the activities of The Thief.
- 3. What the declaration does not do is identify the believers as "in the light" as to the issue of the timing of The Rapture and/or The Day of the Lord.
- a. Since "darkness" and "light" exist simultaneously in reality, it is clear that the identification of these "locations" have to do with what is going to happen, not what is known.
- b. Even in complete ignorance, believers are non-participants in what is going to happen because of the characteristics of the persons involved.
- B. You are all sons of light.
- 1. Being a "son of light" has a strong implication: a "son" in Scripture reflects his 'father' so that a "son of light" is one whose being and actions tend in the direction of the characteristics of "light".
- 2. Being a "son of day" has the same implication and emphasizes Paul's thesis: you are not "in" the position of being susceptible to what "darkness" brings. The Day of the Lord will not come during "the day".
- C. We are not "of night" nor "of darkness".
- 1. Paul is doubling down on the "status" obtained by the Thessalonians by the Gospel of Grace.
- 2. His declaration is of the negative sort: "...not of...".
- II. The Point.
- A. Believers, being "of light", still do not know "the times or the seasons". In other words, their "light" does not bring with it any illumination regarding the hidden things of God.
- B. But, it does not matter that they do not know the times and seasons as long as they maintain their sense of expectancy. It is "expectancy" that provides moral energy to do what is right; it is hopelessness that provides the immoral energy to engage in evil.
- C. Paul's point in his "positional" declarations is not to undermine "hope", but to establish it.
- 1. Some say that "not being subject to the destruction" means "I can do anything I please" as though good and evil have no real consequences for the "exempt".
- 2. Though there are no judicial consequences in store for believers in grace; there are some very serious relational consequences both positive and negative (sowing to the flesh sets one up to reap corruption and sowing to the Spirit sets one up to reap Life).