#201 “Will God’s Wrath Fall On His Children?” (1 Thessalonians 5:9-11)
- 9 For God has not destined (appoint) us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ—Paul is responding to what he just shared in vs. 6-8. Destined us for wrath—In 1:10, here in 5:9, and in 2 Thess. 2:14, Paul emphasizes that God has saved his children from the wrath to come. Clearly, Paul is referring to the tribulation period given the fact that he just detailed the event of the rapture (4:13-18) and is now mentioning (in context) God’s wrath that will follow. The verb usage of destined indicates that God’s original plan did not involve judgment over the world. The wrath of God will fall on the unrepentant and rebellious people: “Because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (Rom. 2:5). In Eph. 5:6, Paul writes, “the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” John, in the book of Revelation, provides a moment in time (in the future) when God starts to pour out his wrath on the earth: “When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood,13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. 14 The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand? (6:12-17)” But to obtain salvation—Christians will not experience the wrath of God on the earth because we will be caught up in the air to meet Jesus.
- 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. In this one verse, Paul brilliantly brings hope to the Thessalonians by combining their concern for those who died prior to the return of Christ (4:13-18) and the living believers who remain (5:1-11). Who died for us—Paul reminds the Thessalonians that Christ died for us so that we can share in eternal life with him. Jesus said in John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” Whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him—Nothing can separate us from the love of God or take away our salvation in Christ.
- 11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. Paul uses the GK word oikodomeō (build up), which is an architectural metaphor of Roman construction. Grant R. Osborne, 1 & 2 Thessalonians: Verse by Verse, “The saints need to join God and build each other up. We are all responsible to “build each other up.” This is a very important point for the church today. None of us can overcome the flesh and attain spiritual victory on our own. We need each other. This is a special phrase for “each other,” eis ton hena. It is not just a synonym for “one another” but adds meaning, an “each one of you” aspect that emphasizes a one-on-one environment in the church. The stress is on every single one of us involved with each other. I need you, and you need me. We will both grow where I help you in your areas of weakness, and you do the same with me.” Another thing that brought the Thessalonians great comfort was Paul reminding them that they will one day be reunited with their loved ones who knew Christ. It is very comforting to know that we will not see death or experience the wrath of God. We are to daily remember these profound truths and not neglect to share them with fellow believers as a way to build one another up in the faith.
- Sharing about Christ’s return keeps us pure before he returns.
- Sharing about Christ’s return encourages us to remain watchful and ready.
- Sharing about Christ’s return motivates us to do the work he has called us to do.