Reflections: Tuesday of the Last Week of the Church Year

Today’s Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Daily Lectionary: Daniel 2:24-49; Revelation 19:1-21

“But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.” (1 Thessalonians 5:8)

In the Name + of Jesus. ‘No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service.’ You’ve probably seen the signs in stores or restaurants but have never thought about the biblical truth behind the saying. Did you know that as Christians you have to be properly dressed for the second coming of Jesus? What does one wear to the eschaton? Luckily, you won’t need a new outfit for the Parousia. The same armor of God that you don for your everyday life as a Christian is all you need to wear for the day of the Lord. 

The breastplate of faith and love and the helmet of the hope of salvation are something that you already have and something that you wear every day, you just know them by another name. They are the robes of righteousness given you in your baptism. In other words, they are your baptismal identity. God has already given you all that you need to be properly clothed for the second coming of His Son. 

This section of Thessalonians drips with baptismal language as Paul writes to Christians who needed to be reminded who they were. Members of the Thessalonian church were besieged by a hostile culture that caused them to question their very identity as Christians. Some even wondered about the fate of church members who died before Jesus returned. In response Paul reminds them who they are. They are children of the light; they have put on the armor of God. They are not destined for wrath. All this language came from the very liturgy that had been part of their baptisms. They are no longer what they were, they are no longer of the darkness, nor do they practice the pagan worship they used to. Not even death changes the reality of baptismal identity. The dearly departed have the same promise as those who are alive.  

What was true for them is also true for you. Your baptism changed you and you were given a new identity and you put on Christ Himself.  Clothed with Christ in baptism, you have nothing to fear from the end. It may come like a thief in the night, but the armor of God will keep you safe until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen

Once in the blest baptismal waters I put on Christ and made Him mine; Now numbered with God’s sons and daughters, I share His peace and love divine (Once in the Blest Baptismal Waters LSB 598, st 1)

-Pastor Grant Knepper is the pastor at Zion Lutheran Church, Hillsboro, Oregon.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.