For We are Sons of Light and Sons of the Day - Page 1 (Lessons on 1 Thessalonians)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

Tom Lowe

Lesson 18: For We are Sons of Light and Sons of the Day (1 Thessalonians 5:5-8)

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8 (NIV)
You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

In this letter, Paul makes us aware that faith, hope, and love are very important to believers. He develops their importance more fully in later letters. Who could ever forget his eloquent hymn of love in which he concludes, “Now these three remain; faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13).

Still Later, Paul will develop the imagery of the soldier’s protective armor in Ephesians 6. But in this passage, so early in his writing ministry, Paul portrays “faith” and “love” as protective armor for the Christian’s spirit and emotions―his or her heart. Until Jesus returns, “hope” is the helmet that protects a Christian’s mind as he or she faces tough circumstances. Because of Jesus, we can overcome anything. He equips us for the difficult times of these last days. We are perfectly protected in Christ. BE ARMED!

Here in this passage, Paul is not laying down some hard regulations for the Thessalonians only to follow, but setting forth the plain duty of all Christian people.

Lesson 18

(5:5) You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.

All{1] believers are “sons of light.” We are translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son when we believe. “For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness, and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves” (Colossians 1:13). We are literally taken from the kingdom of darkness and placed over into the kingdom of light, and therefore, we are sons of light.

“Light” is used to describe the righteousness and truth of God as compared to the wickedness of the devil and the lie that he is. In John 3:19 it says, “. . . Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” In 1 John 1:5-7 we read, “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

The Psalmist cried out, “The Lord is my light and my salvation” (Psalm 27:1). Also read John 8:12 and 2 Corinthians 4:6 Jesus is the LIGHT of the world, and those who know Him as Savior and Lord do not live in the “darkness” of the world nor walk in paths of unrighteousness. He is the light of our life, and the Holy Spirit leads believers to paths of right living.

“Sons of the day”―are born of God, are therefore sons of God, and are of the resurrection. Believers are also “sons of the day” of the Lord―that is, we are part of that day when we will return with Him to judge the wicked and to reign with Him in peace. Read Luke 20:34-36; 2 Thess. 1:7; Romans 8:18-24; Colossians 3:4.

“We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.” The verse begins with “You,” referring to the believers in Thessalonica, and closes with “we,” having to do with Paul and the believers there, thus proving all believers belong to the same Church the same body, and all believers will go in the Rapture. There is no such thing as a partial Rapture.

“Night” is darkness; “day” is light. The night is opposite the day. The same is true in the spiritual realm. Night signifies spiritual darkness, unbelief and ignorance; day signifies light. All born again believers have been translated out of “darkness” into “light,” out of spiritual ignorance into spiritual truth. In other words, Believers in Christ are delivered from the power of darkness, spiritual ignorance, godless profanity, dark and dangerous security, and translated into the kingdom of light, of truth, of purity, and great happiness. The light of past ages was only the dawn of the bright radiant day which now shines upon the world from the gospel sun. Every inquiring and believing soul passes from the dawn to the daylight of experimental truth. Therefore no believer is of the night or of the darkness―for having been delivered from their former state of darkness it would be the height of foolishness to fall back into the behavior-patterns which were characteristic of the old life Romans 13:12-13; Ephesians 5:8.

(5:6) So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be ALERT and self-controlled.

The verse begins with “So then,” since the preceding is true, the following should automatically be true.] The meaning here is, “Therefore, since we have been translated out of darkness into light it is logical and practical that we should not sleep as unbelievers do, neither should we walk in darkness as they do. We should be watchful at all times―”alert and self-controlled.” We should be awaiting and expecting the eminent return of the Lord Jesus, because JESUS WILL RECEIVE PERSONS WHO ARE SELF-CONTROLLED AND ALERT (4-6). All this should be true―since we are children of the day rather than children of the night.

Jesus will receive persons who are self-controlled and alert (4-6). Jesus says, “What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘“Watch!’” (Mark 13:37). Paul urges Christians at Thessalonica to keep on watching and waiting for the day of the Lord’s return. They should avoid setting times and a date as though they know what only God knows. And they should live ready to meet Jesus whenever the Father chooses to send Him for us. BE as ALERT as men who live in hourly expectation of their Lord’s arrival. It is they who maintain the preparedness of spirit who are calm when the midnight cry rings out, “The bridegroom cometh.”

When Jesus returns, He will find some people unprepared and unaware: “So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert . . . For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night” (vv. 6-7). Paul’s word for “sleep” suggests people who are insensitive and out of touch with spiritual reality. They are not prepared to meet the Lord, so they procrastinate. These verses characterize them as “drunken”―that means having lost the ability to make good decisions or proper responses to God. The word “drunk” or “drunken” as used here, should probably not be thought of as a warning against drunkenness there is no indication anywhere in either epistle that such a warning was necessary at Thessalonica but as an exhortation to temperateness and balance Best, “let us be alert and clear-headed”.

―“And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:11-12).

―“Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. “Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.” (Luke 12:36-37).

“Self-controlled.” Sobriety is the exact opposite of drunkenness. Paul is telling the believers at Thessalonica that Christians should be the exact opposite of unbelievers.

Paul’s conclusion is inescapable. Such a great deliverance obliges Christians to live, from now on, in the light; it is not for them to sleep as the rest do. “’Sleep’ is natural to those who are “of the night (Ephesians 5:11-14); it is symbolic of the insensibility and helplessness that sin produces.” Unbelievers may well sleep; they are spiritually insensitive. But the believer should not take his standards from them. They are of the world and therefore they behave as they do. Those who are not of the world should not conform their conduct to that of those who are. Sleep is natural enough for the sons of night, but it is entirely out of place in the sons of light.

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