For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 NASB
Yesterday, when we focused on Peter’s words from Acts 4, we read that besides Jesus “there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” We spent a little time thinking about what it means to be “saved.” Today’s passage, taken from one of Paul’s letters, helps us understand even more about what it means to be “saved,” by contrasting it with its opposite: “wrath.” (By the way, the words “salvation,” saved,” “saving,” and “Savior” all come from the root word “saved.”)
We know from the book of Genesis that everything God created was originally good. Things went wrong almost immediately. Satan deceived Eve by tempting her to doubt what God had said. When she and Adam sinned, death entered the world…and every sort of evil with it.
There are therefore two basic forces at work in the world today: life and death, good and evil, righteousness and sin. The consequences of sin, evil, and death can be summed up in the word “wrath.” God is love, and therefore He’s not content to let us simply suffer the wrath we are due from our sins. Therefore, He calls us to repentance so that He can forgive us. This sets up a renewed flow of life, good, and righteousness to us in the form of His mercy and grace. This flow can be summed up as “salvation.”
Thus the two basic forces at work in the world today – wrath and salvation – can be viewed as two competing streams. One is a stream of sewage and the other is a stream of clean, clear water. The good news is that the stream of salvation is stronger than the stream of wrath, by just so much as God’s power is stronger than all powers arrayed against Him.
Notice from our Thessalonian passage that the path away from wrath and toward salvation is “living together with Him.” Consider also that every day we are on this earth, we are either part of the problem (wrath) or part of the solution (salvation).
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord Jesus, I want to fully live this day with You. Show me how to be a conduit of Your mercy and grace to others…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.