“Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober“
Paul now turns to the practical implications of the day of the Lord.
Now we come to the punch line for prophecy. The word “therefore” draws an emphatic, inescapable conclusion to the doctrine of the teaching on the coming Day of the Lord. Paul draws the upshot of this truth to our personal lives. It is out of character for the believer to live in the night (5:5) because darkness is foreign to his character.
Paul now gives a number of directives to the believers in Thessalonica that the Holy Spirit intends for us today.
let us not sleep,
The first exhortation of how a believer should carry himself is to stay awake spiritually. “Sleep” here refers to carnal indifference to spiritual things by believers (Ephesians 5:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:6). This is a condition of insensibility to God’s values.
as others do,
The “others” are those who do not know the Lord (4:13). They do not have a single ray of light from the Lord to beckon them on. They live their lives in hopeless despair and indulgence. They live as if Christ will never return and that they will never experience the awful day of wrath. Like the foolish virgins of Jesus’ parable, they sleep in spiritual unpreparedness (Matthew 25:5). They are indifferent due to stupor and sloth of sin.
Staying alert to prophecy enables Christians to stay spiritually alert.
Carnal Christians are usually dull to prophetic things. They show little interest in things to come. However, the Bible has much to say about the correlation between prophecy and godly living. We cannot help but be sensitive to God’s values when we anticipate what God will do in the future.