1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 New Living Translation
“For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”
The Thessalonian believers were both concerned with what would happen to those Christians who died prior to Christ’s Second Coming and exactly when Jesus would return. Paul addresses their question of the dead in Christ in Chapter 4 verse 17. The dead in Christ shall rise first at His coming. As far as exactly when He is coming back for His church, Paul tells them He will come as a thief in the night. Jesus Himself spoke of the unknown nature of His own return in the gospel of Matthew (24:36-44), stating that only the Father knows the exact time of His return.
The Second Coming of Christ is known as “The Blessed Hope” of the church. With Christ’s return in mind, Paul tells the Thessalonians to continue comforting and edifying one another, just as they had been doing. To edify(*) is to build up another’s faith through various means.
It’s important that we practice this today as well. We see so much backbiting and divisiveness in churches these days. We are called to encourage and build up the faith of those brothers and sisters around us so that we will all be ready when Christ does in fact return. Let us focus on harmony rather than discord, making every effort to be like Christ and not succumb to our baser nature. Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!
(*) To instruct especially so as to encourage intellectual, moral, or spiritual improvement.
Resource: The Life Application Study Bible; Tyndale House Publishing.