After encouraging them about the reality of the death of their loved ones, Paul comforts the Thessalonians again by telling them that they have no need of anything to be written to them about the times and epochs. He explains why. They are in Christ and do not have to worry about the wrath of God. They are obtaining salvation, not wrath.
There are many people who profess to be Christians who are obsessed with end times and signs of the times. They are so because they do not understand this simple truth—Christians have no need to worry because Christ will not judge them. He has forgiven them. They will not be subject to any form of His wrath.
The day of the Lord, the time of judgment (whether it be God’s final judgment or His judgment against Jerusalem in AD 70) will come like a thief in the night. The people who are not in Christ will be fully convinced of their own security and destruction will come upon them suddenly. They will not escape. So, there is a very real judgment day for worldly nations—those who are in darkness.
Paul addresses First Century Christians. They are not in the darkness such that the day would overtake them like a thief. Christians can see the day of the Lord coming because they don’t live in the dark but in the light. Christians in Jerusalem, when they see the day approaching in AD 70, are to flee to the mountains because they recognize that God is judging Jerusalem (Matthew 24:16). The Thessalonians are to stay alert and sober-minded; they are to increase in faith and love, and keep their hope in the salvation of the Lord. Christ died for them and will not subject them to His wrath or judgment upon the nations in its time.
Whether a Christian is awake, alive on the earth, or asleep, has died, we all live together with Christ. Therefore, we encourage one another and build up one another just as the Thessalonians are doing.
If we apply the instruction to the Thessalonian Christians to ourselves, we see that our response to a society living in sin is not condemnation. When we see the wrath of God coming upon a nation, our response is not browbeating that nation as if our browbeating will suddenly cause those living in darkness to see. They cannot see if they are in darkness. Conversion is a work of God, not people. We are not obsessed with signs of times because Christ has promised that Christians will never receive His wrath. That was the whole purpose of the cross. Instead, our response is sobriety, faith, love, and hope in salvation. The more we see the day drawing near, the more we gather in order to encourage and build one another up. If our gathering is filled with bitterness toward other Christians or monologs against society, we know that we are not being godly but disobeying the Scriptures. Encourage and build one another up. Increase in this.