1 Thessalonians 5:9-10
For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,…
The Thessalonians had groundless fears for their departed friends (1 Thessalonians 4:13).
I. GOD'S PURPOSE.
1. We are not appointed to wrath.
2. We are appointed to salvation.
3. We are appointed to salvation obtainable by our Lord Jesus Christ.
II. NOTHING CAN FRUSTRATE THIS PURPOSE.
1. Because Christ has died for us. A continent of truth is spread out in this one fact.
III. OUR SALVATION IS ASSURED TO US.
1. In this present existence — "whether we wake."
2. In death — "or sleep." Salvation has two parts — that which is present, or the state of grace; and that which is future, or the state of glory.
IV. WE ARE UNITED TO CHRIST, and our life is joined to His life; and thus, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. It should be noticed, however, that the glory and chief hope of the Church are not to be realized at death (of the individual), but at the Lord's coming: one is not to anticipate the other, but all are to be glorified together at Christ's coming (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17; Colossians 3:4; Hebrews 11:40). Death affects the mere individual, but the coming of Christ, the whole Church. At death our souls are invisibly and individually with the Lord; at Christ's coming, the whole church, with all its members, in body and soul, shall be visibly and collectively with Him."
V. HERE IS AN ENDURING BASIS FOR HOPE AND COMFORT.
1. Salvation is sure — as sure as Omnipotence can make it in view of Christ's death.
2. Salvation will be complete. The body shall be raised in im mortal strength and beauty, and the soul shall be sinless and happy in the service of God.
3. Grief over the dead is natural (John 11:31-35; Philippians 2:27); but, with the hope of resurrection and recognition hereafter, it should be moderated.
4. In all this we perceive the immense benefits revelation and grace have conferred upon us.
(1) In contrast with heathenism. The Greeks believed in the immortality of the soul, but knew nothing about the resurrection of the body. Their dead were called "shades." Even the Egyptians did not believe in the resurrection of the body, unless the return of the spirit, as it was believed, to inhabit the mummified body, can be called a resurrection.
(2) As culminating in the Gospel. The Old Testament presented the two doctrines as counterparts to each other — the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body. But these two doctrines were not so clearly understood in the Old Testament times as in the New. That they were revealed is evident from such passages as relate to Enoch and Elijah, the raising of the dead, and from Psalm 16:9, 11; Psalm 17:15; Psalm 73:24; Proverbs 14:32; Isaiah 38:18, 19, etc. These doctrines were made illustrious by the death, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by explicit statements in the New Testament. Hence, in its clearer light, there is more of hope, joy, and comfort than was possible before the coming of Christ. He is the first fruits of them that slept.
(L. O. Thompson.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,