August 12, 2010
Building Strong Friendships in Christ
Understanding “Peace and Safety” Today
“While they are saying, ‘Peace and safety!’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.”
1 Thessalonians 5:3
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Every word in the original autographs of the Bible is breathed by God, and is completely true and trustworthy. So often I hear Christians say that the Bible has errors, or contradictions, or does not really apply to today’s situations because the culture back then was so different. Those Christians need to review what God said about the Bible being His divine revelation, and it will not pass away before all of it will be fulfilled (Matthew 5:18). So often, words in the text help us understand the complete revelation of God about a particular subject.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:3, God describes people making their own prophecies about their own future, and the present state of affairs. Folks proclaim “peace and safety” because they do not know their own immediate future. I have a friend who never likes to hear anything negative. My friend disdains all sorts of bad news, and likes to think positive thoughts. A positive outlook on life, focused upon Jesus and His power in our lives is one thing. Focusing upon our own thoughts and hoping for the best is something else entirely.
Notice the connection between “peace and safety” and “sudden destruction.” Only God knows what will happen next. Humans have been notorious for wishing one thing, but completely ignoring the facts staring them in the face. Especially in the spiritual realm people deceive themselves every day. Instead of confronting their own sin with Godly repentance, they close their eyes and hope it will all turn out o.k. In this case, unbelievers will probably not be reading the Bible, so this passage primarily helps believers to understand the world around them. In this passage God wants us to understand that His judgment of destruction will come upon unbelievers when they least expect it.
Kindly observe that the destruction comes “suddenly.” This term suddenly (“αἰφνίδιος“) speaks to how quickly the problems erupt, like a trap springing suddenly (Luke 21:34). Your unbelieving friends around you will hear from all the news media that things are going well, peace and safety, but the real problems are just around the corner and they will come suddenly.
God describes the coming problem as labor pains. Those pains will be intense, with real profound pain. You cannot ignore them, and your own attempts to get around them will not help. Many women say that labor pains can be sudden, and hurt more than any other pain.
Finally, God tells us that unbelievers will not escape destruction and judgment from His hand. He intends to pour out upon the earth and its inhabitants His divine and perfect wrath for their sinful behavior. Unbelievers may run from God, but they cannot hide from His power or judgment upon them.
Stand back for a moment and ponder what Jesus tells you here. People will be thinking peace and safety, but sudden, intense judgment will be just around the corner. Jesus particularly wants believers to know about the future, and these particular details count. They have not yet been fulfilled, and culture has nothing to do with His prophecies of the future. Jesus tell us about the future to motivate us to live for Him in the present. Tomorrow, Lord willing, we will develop how this knowledge of sudden, intense judgment should influence our lives today.
So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.
● Strong bonds of friendship form when we understand that unbelievers focus upon their own dreams of peace and safety while believers focus upon Jesus and His love.
● Strong bonds of friendship grow when we understand the connection between proclamations of “peace and safety” and sudden destruction coming upon unbelievers.
● We harm our bonds of friendship when we start believing that peace and safety will come to this world without Jesus first bringing sudden destruction upon unbelievers.
Application for Today
Today, I want to encourage my friends to understand that proclamations of peace and safety really mean that sudden and intense destruction awaits the world of unbelievers. Are you ready for Jesus to start His program of sudden and intense destruction today?