A praise song titled “Children of Light” proclaims: “It’s a new day / Everything changed / When your love came into the darkness / You sent the light of the Son / You sent the light of the Son / Wake up, open your eyes / No longer dead, we are alive / Rise up, children of light / Open the doors, go let it shine . . . Hope for the whole world / Let it shine, let it shine.”
We are “children of the light and children of the day,” Paul exulted (v. 5). “We belong to the day” (v. 8). For this reason, the Day of the Lord, though it will come like a “thief in the night” for some, will not shock us (vv. 1–4). Signs or “labor pains” will precede this time of judgment. More importantly, these events won’t be “darkness” for us but the fulfillment of God’s plan. We’ve been chosen for salvation, and on that Day we will come to “live together with him” (vv. 9–10).
In the meantime, we are to be characterized by spiritual alertness or watchfulness, as well as by sobriety or self-control (vv. 6–8). We’re to put on faith and love as a breastplate and hope as a helmet.
This brief armor metaphor indicates that faith, hope, and love are the best protection for our heads and hearts. For Jewish readers, it would also have evoked the biblical image of God as a divine warrior who comes to our aid (see Isa. 59:17).
At the end of history, Jesus said, “the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matt. 13:43). Along the way, “the path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day” (Prov. 4:18).
Today’s reading provides our application: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (v. 11). We’re to encourage others with the truths about the Day of the Lord and Christ’s return. Even for those who have already fallen “asleep” (died), Jesus has conquered the grave and eternal life awaits!