We belong to the day. That’s who we are. Reminded of that as I read the first part of 1Thessalonians 5 this morning. So much confusion around identity these days, around what defines us and gives us meaning. And confusion as to who we are, leads to confusion as to how we should live. But that shouldn’t be the case for the Christian.
Our identity is in Christ. We are the people of God. Rescued from the domain of darkness, we have been brought into the kingdom of His Son, the kingdom of light. As Paul reminds me this morning, we belong to the day.
We are of the light. That’s who we are. That’s how we should live. Here’s how I thought about it 5 years ago . . .
The specific subject is the second coming of Christ, a day that “will come like a thief in the night.” Paul says that it will come when most people are least expecting it. They’ll be saying, “There is peace and security” and then sudden destruction will come upon them. Jesus said that it will be like the days of Noah, when people were just doing life up until the flood hit (Matt. 24:38-39). He said it would be just as it was in the days of Lot, when people went about “eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building” until the day that “fire and sulfur rained down” (Luke 17:28-30).
But, says Paul, though the day will come as a thief in the night it should not surprise the believer like a thief . . . it shouldn’t overtake us . . . it shouldn’t catch us off guard. How come? Because, the apostle reminds us, we are children of the day.
Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.
(1Thessalonians 5:1-5 ESV)
And I’m thinking of the implications of belonging to the day (5:8) . . . of having been brought out of darkness into marvelous light (1Peter 2:9) . . . of having once been blind but now I see . . . of being a child of the day.
By God’s grace and the illumination of the Holy Spirit, the believer is able to see things they could never have otherwise seen . . . to know deep things that can never be known by natural man . . . to have a perspective on life which is simply hidden to those who are dead in trespasses and sin. At that moment, when, by faith, I acknowledged the need for a Savior . . . when, through no merit of my own, my sins were forgiven . . . when, due to no effort I could put forth, I was redeemed by the precious blood of Christ . . . at that moment, I was forgiven . . . I was cleansed . . . I was sealed . . . I was adopted . . . and, praise God, I was made a child of the day.
And, says Paul, it should make a difference.
So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. . . . since we belong to the day, let us be sober . . .
(1Thessalonians 5:6-8 ESV)
Keep awake and be sober . . . be alert and self-controlled (NIV) . . . stay alert and clear-headed (NLT) . . . no snoozin’ at the wheel (PJC).
What a waste to be children of the day and walk around like people of darkness. How short we fall of our potential in Christ when we take our cues from the world. How under utilized is the mind of Christ we possess, the ability through the Spirit to know the deep things of God (1Cor. 2:14-16), when we, instead, live after the wisdom of men.
Oh to live as children of the day. Awake to the realities of the kingdom of heaven about us . . . doing life with an engaged radar discerning the “truths” fed us by a world cloaked in darkness . . . pursuing that which is of God, letting pass that which is not.
Can’t do it on my own. But children of the day don’t have to. The God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone His light in our hearts, “giving us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ . . . but we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2Cor. 4:6-7). His light . . . his power . . . my holy determination to be awake and clear-headed.
Oh that, as His people, we would continue to seek to live as children of the day in a world which is shrouded in the darkness of night.
To do so by His all sufficient and enabling grace. To do so for His eternal and praiseworthy glory.