For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing (1 Thessalonians 5:9-11, NASB).
A line in the old cowboy song went, Where seldom is heard, a discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day. I especially like the part about seldom hearing a discouraging word. Why? I suppose its because so much of what we hear every day is discouraging. Even more discouraging is the report that even the newscast must be mostly about negative things else no one would watch or listen. No wonder so many people are depressed.
But when the Bible speaks of the gospel, it really does mean good news! The quote from 1 Thessalonians is just such an example. Its actually part of longer passage dealing with judgment. In fact, it might sound depressing itself if one doesnt pay close attention.
Paul said that the Lords judgment would come like a thief in the night. In other words, its coming when no one expects it. Others might run around and proclaim peace and safety, but destruction is right around the corner. His point was that people ought to get control of themselves and get serious about things. The fact that judgment can come at any moment is reason not to get too confident in messages about peace and safety. Sounds discouraging doesnt it?
Keep reading. There is good news for those who sit up and pay attention. People who adorn themselves with the breastplate of faith and love and the helmet of the hope of salvation, judgment, though something to be serious about, is actually an act of God to look forward to.
There is good news for those who sit up and pay attention.|
Why? Because Gods people have been appointed or destined, not to receive His wrath, but His salvation! This is the purpose for which Jesus died, and for which we have put our faith in Him as our Savior. This fact ought to encourage us. It should motivate us to live faithfully, and to look expectantly to His coming.
Confidence in Jesus coming should move us to yearn for His presence. It should lead us to take every day seriously and not let down our guard. We wont be careless with our lives because we know that God has destined us for wonderful things through Jesus our Savior. What lies ahead for us is salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.
Spread the word the encouraging word!