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1Thess 5:9-11 Free from Wrath

Discussion in 'Exposition & Bible Study' started by bcbsr, Apr 8, 2021.

  1. bcbsr

    bcbsr Newbie

    Free from Wrath

    1Thess 5:9-11 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.

    Christians have no wrath to look forward to. "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" Rom 8:1
    There is no punishment for sin, for under the New Covenant not only are sins forgiven but forgotten. "This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds." Then he adds: "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more." Heb 10:16,17

    An interesting bit of Exegesis

    There's a double meaning in verse 10 of "awake" and "asleep" which Paul may have intended though it may not come out as strongly in the translation. "Awake" is actually the same word translated "alert" in verse 6, and of the 22 times this word is used in the New Testament, only in this case is it translated "awake". The translators assume the Paul was talking about being alive or dead and so translated the word which elsewhere is translated "alert" or "watchful" into the word "awake". But the Thessalonians would have likely read "whether we are alert or asleep".

    "Asleep" is the same greek word "sleep" in verse 6 which is a different word than what Paul uses in the previous chapter where he referred to the death of believers. In verse 6 he used the word to refer to "yield to sloth and sin" or "to be indifferent to one's salvation". Though at times it is used to refer to death. (Actually there's a similar double meaning of this word in Eph 5:14)

    Thus the context would give the impression to mean that "Eternal life and salvation by Christ does not depend on our watchfulness, so it shall not be hindered by the sleepy, drowsy frame of spirit the children of God sometimes fall into." (John Gill) Though alertness and an enlightened behavior comes naturally to children of God, yet from time to time those born of God sleep, failing to keep alert, and consequently fall into sin. But even so, such will not suffer wrath, because that is the nature of the grace given believers.

    The Eternal Security that Paul alludes to here gives us hope. For though the faith that saves is that faith that works, and there are inevitable effects of being born of God, yet Christians are not under the bondage of legalism whereby one must constantly live up to certain standards to obtain or maintain our salvation status, though granted there are other consequences to be concerned about.

    And this is an encouraging fact, which is why Paul mentions it. We should all be involved in encouraging and building one another up, following the example of the Thessalonians. If you're not around such Christians, then who will wake you up when you fall asleep? Who will keep you alert? "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" Ecc 4:9,10 Furthermore "Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken." Ecc 4:12

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