by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 1 Study # 5 February 15, 2015 Dayton, Texas
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:
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 Support For His Exhortations.
A. On one side of the coin: "lying down to sleep" and "getting drunk" are "of night" behaviors.
1. The use of the genitive of "night" is interesting in that the focus is not, as the English translation implies, a "sphere" in which a thing is done.
2. The genitive goes back to 5:5 which declares we are not "of night" and looks forward to 5:8 which is Paul's contrasting reality and declares that "we, being 'of day',...". The direct implication is that Paul is not saying "those who sleep, sleep in the night"; rather, he is saying "those who sleep, sleep as the outcome of an 'of night' identity".
3. That he has this "of night" thought in mind is brought out by means of his contrasting alternative: "But we, being of day, should be sober...". This "of day" is a genitive with a participle of "being" in the flow of the text.
4. That he uses "of night" is most likely because of the reality expressed by Jesus in John 11:10 that "if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.".
a. Paul's point is that those who are "of night" simply have no "light" so that it is impossible for them to make good choices and take effective action.
b. The metaphors of "walking in the light" and "walking in darkness" (1 John 1:6-7) are intended to expose the issue of "being able to comprehend". This is why Paul used the verb "sleep" because it means two things simultaneously: those who "sleep" are oblivious and take no action. Oblivion is caused by the inability to see and sobriety is all about taking the right kind of action.
B. On the other side of the coin: "being sober" is an "of day" behavior.
1. That we are "of day" automatically means that we have the illumination of truth and love.
2. It is because we are "of day" that we should behave in a certain way, described as "being sober".
3. But, here the "sobriety" is identified: putting on both breastplate and helmet.
a. The breastplate is a combination armour of both faith and love.
1) The breastplate protects the heart.
2) The issues of the "heart" are both faith and love.
a) These are interactive elements: one cannot "believe" without first being committed to a valid objective (loving); and one's "loves" are dictated by what one "believes". This appears to be an impossible interaction because one cannot "believe", nor "love" when both are dependent upon the prior existence of the other. This simply shows how much grace must be in the mix in order for someone to "love" the right end(s) and thus "believe" truth as opposed to delusion(s).
b) Both issues are "heart" matters. One must "believe in his/her heart" (Romans 10:9-10) and one must "love" in his/her heart (2 Thessalonians 3:5).
3) As a protector of the "heart", "faith and love" keep a person on target. It is odd that Paul characterizes "faith and love" as the breastplate when it is the "heart" that exercises "faith and love". What is this mystery?
a) If the "heart" needs protection, and the protecting entity is a "breastplate of faith and love", and the issues of the heart are "faith and love", the language plus the meaning indicates that the "breastplate" is a hardened state of commitment to the values of love and the truths of faith.
b) In other words, the "protection" is a definitive commitment to a specific set of values and truths, without which the heart goes bonkers in both areas, embracing values that have no value and beliefs that have no truth.
b. The helmet is of a single issue: hope (THE issue of the letter).
1) The helmet protects the head.
2) The issue of the head is hope.
C. The main problematic issue is the reality that once a person has been an "of night" individual (and none of us are here without that reality), there is no escape from its residue until the death and resurrection of the body. Even the Gospel's promise of regeneration is not an immediate cure-all for the evil that arises out of this "of night" fact.
1. This is the reality that summons the use of both breastplate and helmet: there is no need for a love/faith/hope protection in a 'resolved' arena (if regeneration was an absolute reality, all would love, believe, and hope without qualification or weakness; but, we do not).
2. Thus, we need to understand what is involved and how we are compromised by false loves, faith in deceits, and hopelessness.