“But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:8-11
As watchful, alert, and sober Christians, we are to be wise and faithful in daily armoring up in the full armor of God. We protect our heart and our head with faith and hope, knowing what God has and hasn’t called and appointed us to. Praise God that He has appointed us to salvation, not wrath! In 1 Thessalonians 5, the Apostle Paul has addressed the questions, concerns, and worries of the Thessalonian believers regarding what the second coming of Christ and the resurrection will be like and what will happen. They needed comfort in the truth of what it will be like for the people of God in contrast to what the Day of the Lord will be for unbelievers, all of which had application for how they were to then live. The same applies for us today. We watch and walk in the great hope of our salvation in Christ.
As we do so, we need to grow in understanding the connection between comfort, hope, perseverance, and God’s work through other believers in our lives. The Holy Spirit comforts our hearts with the truth, which builds our faith, strengthens our hope, and steadies our walk. Though at times we may think that we do not need other Christians in order to progress in our spiritual growth, the opposite is true. Further, we have a responsibility to come alongside to comfort and encourage each other in the body of Christ. We have a responsibility to build one another up. Notice that as much as Paul exhorted the Thessalonians to do so with one another, he also recognized that was something they were already doing. Therefore, they needed to keep going, keep doing what they were doing. So do we!
If we are to comfort and edify one another effectively, we need to have and maintain relationships where trust is established and we hear and know each other’s struggles, questions, and doubts. We spend time with one another. We need to actively work to resolve any conflicts that arise. We need to “consider one another in order to stir up love and good works”. (Hebrews 10:24) We rightly take time to do so as we’re gathered together on the Lord’s Day. We extend hospitality to each other and invest in one another’s lives – person to person, family to family. That investment can often be best seen through the comfort and encouragement we give that truly edifies, as we don’t spin out in struggles together but rather encourage each other in Christ, lifting each other up to better stand and grow in the truth and promises in His Word.
In his comments on Hebrews 10:24, John Calvin said it well when he spoke of our need to “strive to lead others to the truth, to restore the wandering to the right way, to extend a helping hand to the fallen, to win over those who are without.”
Ask yourself today: “Do I really believe that I need comfort and encouragement to maintain and grow in my faith? If I do, how is this evident in my life? How am I reaching out to comfort others? If I’m not, Lord, help me change that today.” Never forget that comfort and edification aids your perseverance and that of your brethren! May we all prayerfully take steps to make this more evident in our walk and relationships. May we grow with one another, praying for each other that God will grant us all much grace to persevere. Praise God for His Word! Praise God for our comfort in Christ and the Scriptures!