Commentary on "Final Events (1 Thess. 5:111)"
Day 5: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - Constant Watchfulness (1 Thess. 5:68)
Today’s lesson is entitled, “Constant Watchfulness” and uses 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8 as the text:
So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. 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 5:6-8 ESV)
In this lesson, Paulien expounds on the necessity of being alert and watchful as the day of the Lord draws near. In addition to the repetitive message of the lesson, the Teacher’s Comments also stress the need to prepare for the second coming, to be watchful, not drunk, and armed, living a life that reveals the characteristics Paul described.
From an Adventist perspective, these lessons make sense. Man is a physical being who must demonstrate his dedication to Christ by observing His requirements in the law in order to be ready for heaven. They may say that Jesus “makes up the difference” if a person has done his best to keep the law, but they believe that obedience and ongoing improvement in law-keeping is necessary for salvation.
Being ready, then, means being vigilant and diligent to devote oneself to the law, to the Sabbath, to living according to the core beliefs of Adventism.
From a biblical perspective, however, “being ready” simply means one is born again and actively submitting to the Lord Jesus and His word. This submission is not possible unless one is alive with the resurrection life of Jesus—with God Himself—indwelling one. Jesus said the only way to see the kingdom of heaven is to be born again (Jn. 3:3-6). He further said that all who believe have eternal life and do not come into judgment (Jn. 5:24; 6:49).
My desire for any Adventists who may lurk on this site is this: please ask God to show you what He knows He wants you to know from Scripture. You can’t come to Him holding the Sabbath in your hand; you can’t approach Him holding the law or your Adventism before Him. It is not a prayer of submission or openness to ask God to reveal Himself through your Adventist paradigm. You must ask Him to show you Himself as He is, to reveal truth to you that He knows you need to know.
You cannot be ready for Jesus to come by living in urgency and self-examination. You can only be ready for Him by giving up yourself and receiving Him as your Lord and your Savior. You have to KNOW Him...or rather, be known by Him.
The second coming is not the gospel. Rather, the gospel is the good news that the Lord Jesus died on the third day according to Scripture, was buried, and rose from the dead on the third day according to Scripture (1 Cor. 15:3-4).
This is the gospel you need. Let the anxiety of the second coming go out of your mind as you deal with the Lord Jesus. You need to know Him--and He indwells your spirit, not your brain cells. He makes you alive with His own life (Rom. 5:10), and it is this life that you must have.
You cannot be ready apart from being born again.
Copyright 2012 BibleStudiesForAdventists.com. All rights reserved. Revised August 23, 2012. This website is published by Life Assurance Ministries, Camp Verde, Arizona, USA, the publisher of Proclamation! Magazine. Contact email: BibleStudiesForAdventists@gmail.com.
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