The model Thessalonian church had been born amidst great storms (Acts 17:1-9; 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7 & 3:3-5). Winds of persecution were so fierce believers stared down both barrels at death. Now false teachers had come to destroy their glorious hope. Rebooting and rehearsing hope-filled second coming teaching stabilized the ship & bolstered comfort & edification (1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11).
They needed to guard their minds with a hope-filled helmet of final salvation - so with the Day of the LORD in the background, when Christ winds up the cosmos & settles the final accounts, Paul reminds them, in 1 Thessalonians 5:8b-11, of what this rescue hope consists: what follow are notes just to help unpack his doctrine:
8 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. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing - 1 Thessalonians 5:8-11
The PLAN of Salvation - God has predestined US (which is a particular reference to the elect) not to wrath but to everlasting covenant bliss v9a.
The FACT of Salvation - believers will be delivered from God's just, holy, fury that will begin to burn eternally against sin on that day when he appears & takes many by surprise v9b.
The GIFT of Salvation - not earned but obtained, all by grace, through faith from first to last v9c.
The SOURCE of Salvation - the anointed, appointed, predestined, predicted, voluntary Mediator of the Elect (One Person, in Two Natures, with a Triplex-Office), the God-Man Messiah, our excellent, wonderful, sinless Lord Jesus Christ v9d.
The WORK of Salvation - Jesus died for us & executed the task that the Father gave Him to do: in the power of the Holy Spirit, having actively & perfectly obeyed & embodied the Law, He gladly, freely & passively submitted to death as a sinless substitute, bearing the penalty of God's flock to wash away their sinful guilt: this was so that, in executing & applying His bloody covenant, he might impute His spotlessness to them & declare them innocent & free from any stain v10a.
The GOAL of Salvation - that those for whom He died might, in time, obey the Word of truth & receive God-appointed eternal life: so that, through union with Christ & in communion with God, whether dead in the grave or alive on the ground (or in departed-glory) they might, body & soul (or both) abide continually with their Lord in unbreakable fellowship v10b.
The JOY of Salvation - praying in these truths with the Spirit's light & heat, would make this helmet of hope, a means to mutually edify & encourage the Thessalonian saints in their Macedonian church v11a.
The POWER of Salvation - they had already effectively begun this work of meditating on this truth & as they guard their minds Paul was sure the church would abound in experiencing hope-filled saving grace.
Are you hard-pressed saints? Are there difficulties in life? Are you surrounded by the world & flesh? Are you assailed by Satanic attack? Is there trouble outside God's House or tension within the flock - take out your head-on hope and delight in saving truth!