1 Thessalonians 5:8
But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
I. FAITH GUARDS AGAINST INTELLECTUAL TEMPTATIONS.
1. We are surrounded by an all pervasive, subtle, penetrating atmosphere of scepticism. We meet with it in our educational agencies, and drink it in with our learning; in society, and imbibe it with our interchange of thought and conversation; in our ephemeral literature, and take it in in our recreation; in our pulpits, alas I and receive it along with our religious instruction. In these and other ways doubts are insinuated into the heart on the all-important subjects of God, Christ, salvation, duty, destiny. Escape it we cannot. To fight it seems only like combatting the air, so agile is the adversary. Our only safety lies in wearing an insulator. A mariner wrapped in oilskin can defy the elements though he cannot allay them. Such an insulator is faith; not firmly held theological opinions, but practical and realizing trust in God and truth. Faith knows whom and what it has believed, and passes unscathed through the trial.
2. We are surrounded by circumstances which tend to agitate the mind and excite our fears. Our duties, responsibilities, dangers, in business, home, travel, Churches, are calculated to engender anxiety, and when once anxiety gets into the heart it is difficult to dislodge, and, if allowed sway, the citadel is gone and despair enthroned. The only course is to keep anxiety out by the breastplate of faith. Trust in God and in His promise is the sure antidote. "No weapon that is formed against them shall prosper," etc. "All things work together for good," etc.
II. LOVE GUARDS AGAINST MORAL TEMPTATIONS. These, too, abound, and to escape them we must needs go out of the world. Some, of course, we must fight, but against each and all we need protection.
1. Love to God is the supreme motive for resistance. No other is sufficiently strong and durable. Prudence, self-respect, consideration for friends, etc., are well as subordinate motives, engravings on the breastplate, but are unavailing by themselves. The true, abiding, invincible motive is "How can I do this wickedness and sin against God?" What God has done for and to me, and what He is to me and I to Him, are sufficient inspirations when strongly held to resist the most powerful advance.
2. Love to God creates moral habits and tastes which render temptations innocuous. "What fellowship has light with darkness?" While this Sun rules the children of the day, the night of sin can have no place.
(J. W. Burn.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.