1 Thessalonians 5:5-6 reads: “For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.”
There is a notable difference between light and darkness, just as there is a difference between sleep and wakefulness. Sleep requires no energy or effort at all. One simply has to close his eyes and drift away into oblivion. In order to stay awake, a person has to expend energy. Light also requires energy. Darkness reigns where there is no energy.
Such is also true in spiritual matters. In order to stay awake spirituality, a person must put his energy and effort into the endeavor. Jesus said that the way to destruction is wide and easy, but the way to life is hard and difficult. (Matthew 7:13-14). To stay on the road, Jesus said to “strive to enter the narrow gate…” A person must be awake to stay on that road. That takes energy. In order to maintain a relationship with God, one must “walk in the light…” (1 John 1:7) No one can just “sit” in the light, as if to say, “I’ve gone through the checklist and now have my ticket punched.”
The vast majority of religious people makes no effort to be awake, blindly following “every wind of doctrine.” (Ephesians 4:14) They have been duped by the devil into thinking that they have nothing to do to gain salvation except believe in Jesus. But, the New Testament plainly teaches that belief results in action. Jesus, in Luke 6:46 says: “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” One who says that Jesus is the highest of masters and doesn’t follow his word is being inconsistent and hypocritical.
Paul also says that the writings of the apostles are just as important as the words of Jesus. “If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed.” (2 Thessalonians 3:14) A person who “does not obey” the words of the apostles should be “ashamed.”
Lest you think that I am teaching a “works salvation,” read Luke 17:7-10:
A person who does the will of God is still unworthy and needs his grace.