March 21, 2023
The Bible Edge
Everyone needs an Edge, Believers can have the Bible Edge
1 Thessalonians 5:6
Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
Whenever there is a “therefore” it is good to look and see why and what it is there for. The answer to that question for today’s verse is found in the context of the first 5 verses of this chapter. Basically, believers in Christ should not be asleep because of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. Books could be written about this topic: the return of Christ. Arguments can be waged about the specifics of His return. But suffice it to say that the New Testament teaches that someday the Lord Jesus Christ shall return to earth.
In light of that truth Paul encourages the fine Christians in Thessalonica in this: let us not sleep, as do others, but let us watch and be sober. Two “lets” in one verse. Consider them.
…Let us not sleep, as do others. As with everything in the Bible, this can be taken literally or spiritually. Could it be that the Lord that created sleep as an integral part of a healthy lifestyle would inspire Paul to tell the Thessalonians to not sleep, ever? Probably not. This must be a metaphor for spiritual sleep. Spiritual sleep is that act of doing nothing spiritually. At least for a time, usually a long time. During this spiritual sleep there is no prayer made, no Bible read, no meditation on that which the Bible teaches, no church services, no performance of good works that glorify the Father, no walking in the Spirit, nothing. Others may do this, live like this, but this is not for those who are described in verse 5 of this chapter. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Spiritually speaking it is daytime, time to work spiritual works.
…but let us watch and be sober. The simple word “but” often articulates the exact opposite of that which comes immediately before it. Instead of not at watch we are to be at watch. Watching for that soon return of Christ. Sober here means; serious, clear headed, solemn, temperate, not under the influence of anything that robs the ability to be awake spiritually. Instead of not being sober the children of Christ should be sober.
So, God tells the congregation of the church of Thessalonica to not be asleep as others, to be watchful and sober. Again, that word “let” means more than permission, it carries with it the empowerment to do so. Within each child of God there is power to be awake, to be watchful of His return, to be sober in this area. If a person is the opposite of these, they can change. God Almighty would never ask His children to do something that they cannot do. An edge in life, a Bible edge is to watch for His return. To which there is a wonderful promise given: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. II Timothy 4:8. A crown! Think on this today during your spiritually awake hours, a crown just for looking forward to and loving His future appearing.
William Howe, Ph.D.