1 Thessalonians 5:5-8
You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.…
The apostle says that, as children of light and of the day, believers ought to exercise vigilance and sobriety in view of the solemn prospects before them.
I. THE SIN AND DANGER OF SPIRITUAL SLEEP. "Let us not sleep, as do others." There are three kinds of sleep spoken of in Scripture - the sleep of nature, which restores the wasted energies of the body; the sleep of death; and the sleep of the text, which is always fraught with peril, its prevailing idea being insensibility. The sleeper is:
1. Not aware of his danger.
2. Forgetful of his duty.
3. Unconscious of the real world around him.
4. Immovable to all appeals.
5. May not even know that he is asleep.
II. THE DUTY OF WATCHFULNESS AND SOBRIETY. "But let us watch and be sober," so as to be always prepared for the Lord's coming. We are not to be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, so that that day should overtake us unawares. Let us watch that we may be sober.
1. The reason is that sleep and drunkenness are works of darkness done in the night. "They that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night." Those spiritually asleep "sleep through all life's agitations, beneath the thunders of Sinai, and the pleadings of mercy from the cross." Like drunken men, they are intoxicated with life's delights, "minding earthly things," occupied supremely with "the unfruitful works of darkness." Believers are not so, into whose heart "God has commanded the light to shine out of darkness, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus" (2 Corinthians 4:6).
2. Another reason for watchful sobriety is that our life is a spiritual warfare. The believer is to be a sentinel always on guard, or a soldier on the battle-field - "having on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation." As a good soldier, bound to endure hardness, he goes forth into the conflict of life, equipped in Divine armor, not for aggression but for defense. The pieces of armor here enumerated are for the protection of vital parts, the heart and the head.
(1) Faith is the principal part of this spiritual armor. "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith" (1 John 5:4, 5). It is by faith they resist the devil (1 Peter 5:9). It is by it all difficulties are overcome (Matthew 17:20). If it is by the "sword of the Spirit, the Word of God," we are to conquer, faith is the arm that wields the sword. The eleventh chapter of Hebrews illustrates the power of faith as a principle of action and as a principle of endurance.
(2) Love is joined with faith to form the breastplate, for "faith worketh by love" (Galatians 5:6). Love preserves from apostasy, and knits the saints together, because it is the bond of perfection, and thus enables us to bear all trial through love to the Redeemer.
(3) The hope of salvation is the helmet. In the corresponding passage in Ephesians, the helmet is salvation itself; but the difference is not material, the salvation in the one case being partially enjoyed, in the other an object of future hope. Hope is a protection to the believer, as it nerves him to meet danger, and enables him to brave difficulties, by looking to the glorious objects in view. Therefore it is "the patience of hope." Thus the three Christian graces make the soul watchful and ready for the Lord's coming. - T.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.