How to live in the knowledge of Christ’s return? One thing, don’t obsess over when it will be, just live. It’s not about timing it’s about living in expectation of Christ’s return, which he describes as living as children of the day.
It’s sort of a double metaphor on being asleep. He’s mentioned those who have died believers. They are asleep in the sense that they will wake up when Christ returns. But the people alive now who don’t expect Christ’s return are also asleep, in the sense that they are not ready for the thief in the night. He also compares it to being drunk, which is a night time activity which renders you in a stupor and not capable of being alert.
Being children of the day is to be alert to avoiding spiritual complacency. In the day you are sharp, and sober. You are dressed for action, which means wearing love and faith as a breastplate and salvation as a helmet.
I like that the armour metaphor is about putting on the qualities. It’s a decision to love and have faith, an active choice. So you are not relying on love from within. You may feel emotionally low on faith and love, but you adopt habits of love and faith that outrun your emotions.
The hope of salvation is the helmet. I think they didn’t understand medically that thinking occurred in the brain when Paul wrote this. But it’s a nice anachronistic thought anyway. The hope of salvation is an active thought process you can put on to protect your head against negative thinking, hopelessness.
He channels the grief over lost loved ones, those who are asleep, into this work of living in the day. By living life for the benefit of Christ you are honouring those who have died in him, and making sure you will always be together. It’s a tender word of encouragement: you are guaranteeing you will all be together.
Cherish most those who admonish you. Its a hard job. He has an ascending scale of treating each other, from warning the idle and disruptive, through encouraging the disheartened and helping the weak to generally being patient with everyone, with those who work hard admonishing worthy of the most respect. Its a rush of advice, like a parent sending their kid off to camp “make sure you shower, eat enough, wear sunscreen.” He really loves these people. Rejoice, pray, give thanks. This is the christian work that is the will of god for our time. Its interesting how once again there is not an emphasis on proseletysing. He’s not demanding that they preach, he wants them to live it.