Memory Text: “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:8, ESV).
Key Thought: The reality of Christ’s return calls us to continual readiness.
In this week’s passage, the Second Coming is still the primary theme, but the focus shifts. Here Paul is not so much clarifying details about Jesus’ return as he is proclaiming the need for constant readiness in light of that return (and the judgment that it entails). The previous passage was encouraging; when the end comes, the outcome will be much more positive than the Thessalonians were expecting. Now that they understand better the nature of His return, the question is how to prepare for it.
The issue in the church then seems to have been a theology of “peace and security” combined, perhaps, with some members calculating the time of the Second Advent. Through prophecy, the Thessalonians hoped to be able to predict when the final events were coming and, thereby, know when to get ready. As a result, some could have been living without any sense of urgency.
Who among us today can’t relate? The longer we are here, the easier it is to lose that sense of urgency. Hence our need to heed Paul’s words here.
Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, September 1.