1 Thessalonians 5:10 MEANING

1 Thessalonians 5:10
(10) Who died for us.--Not a mere pious recollection of a fact which has nothing to do with the context, but an account of the way by which Christ made it possible for us to set about earning salvation. What a blessed privilege a Christian's life of labour must be, if it alone--to say nothing of the "salvation" at the end--cost such a price!

Whether we wake or sleep.--The mention of Christ's death at once brings back the recollection of the Advent and the questions concerning the dead in their relation to it. The words "wake or sleep" seem distinctly suggested by the metaphor used from 1 Thessalonians 5:2 to 1 Thessalonians 5:8, being different in the Greek from the terms used in 1 Thessalonians 4, but abruptly take a much altered meaning. They here, no doubt, signify "life and death:"--"Let us arm ourselves with a brave hope of our salvation, for it will be against God's will if we should perish: He means us to save ourselves by union with Him who put an end to death for us by dying, and made all who wait for His coming to live, whether they be in the world's sense dead or alive."

We should live.--In sharp contrast with "who died for us." Christ's dying destroyed the power of death (Hebrews 2:14); henceforth it is only a matter of being awake or asleep; those who sleep quite as truly live, and live with Him, as we who wake (see Luke 20:38; and compare the more developed passage in Romans 14:8). The word "together" (as the Greek clearly shows) must be separated from the "with;" rather, "we should live with Him together," i.e., we quick, and our brethren the dead; for St. Paul has entirely reverted from the effect of the Advent-doctrine upon Christian life to the subject of the last chapter--the equality of the two classes at Christ's coming. Bengel, thinking that St. Paul is still applying himself to the discussion of the date of the Advent (which in fact was scarcely raised), tries to make out the meaning, "That we should there and then live with Him."

Verse 10. - Who died. His death being the meritorious cause of our salvation. For us; that is here, not "instead of us," but "for our benefit," or "on our account." That, whether we wake or sleep. Here not to be taken in an ethical sense - whether we are spiritually awake or asleep, for those who are spiritually asleep will be surprised by the coming of the Lord; nor in a natural sense - whether he come in the night and find us taking our natural sleep, or in the day, when we are awake - which would be a mere trifling observation; but in a metaphorical sense - whether we are alive or dead. The apostle has just been speaking of those who are dead under the designation of those "who are asleep" (1 Thessalonians 4:13), and therefore it is natural to interpret the clause, "whether we wake or sleep," of the condition of believers at the coming of the Lord. There is here certainly a change of metaphor: "sleep" in ver. 6 denotes religious carelessness; in ver. 7, natural sleep; and here, death. We shall live together - or, in one company - with him. The apostle is still continuing his consolatory address to those who were mourning over their deceased friends; and he tells them that at the advent there will be no difference between those who are then alive and those who sleep - both will live together with the Lord (comp. Romans 14:8, 9).

5:6-11 Most of mankind do not consider the things of another world at all, because they are asleep; or they do not consider them aright, because they sleep and dream. Our moderation as to all earthly things should be known to all men. Shall Christians, who have the light of the blessed gospel shining in their faces, be careless about their souls, and unmindful of another world? We need the spiritual armour, or the three Christian graces, faith, love, and hope. Faith; if we believe that the eye of God is always upon us, that there is another world to prepare for, we shall see reason to watch and be sober. True and fervent love to God, and the things of God, will keep us watchful and sober. If we have hope of salvation, let us take heed of any thing that would shake our trust in the Lord. We have ground on which to build unshaken hope, when we consider, that salvation is by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, to atone for our sins and to ransom our souls. We should join in prayer and praise one with another. We should set a good example one before another, and this is the best means to answer the end of society. Thus we shall learn how to live to Him, with whom we hope to live for ever.Who died for us,.... The elect of God, who are not appointed to wrath, but to salvation by Christ, on which account he died for them; not merely as a martyr to confirm his doctrine, or only by way of example, but as a surety, in the room and stead of his people; as a sacrifice for their sins, to make atonement for them, and save them from them; so that his death lays a solid foundation for hope of salvation by him:

that whether we wake or sleep: which phrases are to be understood, not in the same sense in which they are used in the context; as if the sense was, whether a man indulges himself in sin, and gives way to sleep and sloth, and carnal security, or whether he is awake and on his watch and guard, he shall through the death of Christ have eternal life secured to him; not but that there is a truth in this, that eternal life and salvation by Christ, as it does not depend on our watchfulness, so it shall not be hindered by the sleepy, drowsy frame of spirit, the children of God sometimes fall into: but rather natural sleep and waking are intended; and the meaning is, that those for whom Christ died are always safe, sleeping or waking, whatever they are about and employed in, and in whatsoever situation and condition they are in this world; though it may be best of all to interpret the words, of life and death; and they may have a particular regard to the state of the saints at Christ's second coming, when some will be awake, or alive, and others will be asleep in Christ, or dead; and it matters not which they are, whether living or dead; see Romans 14:7 for the end of Christ's dying for them, and which will be answered in one as well as in another, is, that

we should live together with him: Christ died for his people, who were dead in trespasses and sins, that they might live spiritually a life of sanctification from him, and a life of justification on him, and by him; and that they might live a life of communion with him; and that they might live eternally with him, in soul and body, in heaven, and reign with him there, and partake of his glory; and this all the saints will, whether they be found dead or alive at his coming; for the dead will immediately arise, those that sleep in the dust will awake at once, and they that are alive will be changed, and both will be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and be for ever with him: now the consideration of the death of Christ, and this end of it, which will certainly be answered, serves greatly to encourage hope of salvation by him, and faith in him, and an earnest expectation of his second coming.

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