So this is the second part of a quick trip, verse by verse through Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians. Hope it inspires you to learn more about Jesus the Author of our salvation.
1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.
4 Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. – 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4
Paul often had co-writers of the letters of the churches. Here we see that Silvanus (Silus) and Timothy contributed to this letter, both men who had been with Paul during his travels and faced persecution. The Church at Thessalonica was suffering from persecution but this caused abundant (or vigorous) growth. Paul boasted about this church to other churches. Our life can be an example to others. People watch us as we cope with the trials of life and see the work of God’s hand in our lives. They see the peace we have when we should be stressed, see the courage we have when we should be scared, see our faithfulness when we should be abandoning hope and see our love increasing when we should be angry.
5 This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering-
6 since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you,
7 and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels
8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. – 2 Thessalonians 1:5-8
Sobering passage. Although it gives hope that the Lord will repay those who afflicted them, it still warns us that the Lord is righteous and holy and will judge us all. This church was counted worthy to suffer for the name of Christ. But they are promised relief. We grow in character,patience, endurance and hope as we suffer. There is a rest that remains for the people of God, from sin and sorrow. But for the unbelievers and disobedient, they will find no rest.
12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin – Hebrews 3:12-13
10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.
11 To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,
12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. – 2 Thessalonians 1:10-12
whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies-in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 4:11
Jesus will be glorified IN us. What He will do for us in eternity is beyond our comprehension, to wonderful to describe. Those who have believed the gospel and obey His Word should walk worthy of the calling, to see Him glorified now as well as in the eternal future. To walk in the work of faith. That is our work, our calling, to live by faith because only faith pleases Him. To walk by faith not by sight. Which of course can only happen because of the grace of God.
1 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers,
2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.
3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,
4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. – 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4
Paul wanted to reassure the church that he was not teaching that Jesus had already returned. Jesus is coming for the church (rapture) and with His Church (2nd coming). The time is coming when the anti-christ will be revealed. Some believe he is alive today. What if the internet were to become the tool of a one world government? We are not to be troubled. What ever happened on earth we are hidden in Christ to reign with Him in glory. No matter who proclaims to be god we know the one and only living God. We can live with full assurance of faith. Hallelujah
5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?
6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. – 2 Thessalonians 2:5-7
The Christian’s in the first century were learning a totally new way of relating to God. No longer relying on the sacrificial system for atonement but learning how to relate to the Holy Spirit. Here Paul teaches that the Holy Spirit is restraining the forces of evil. Governments get their power ultimately from God and He uses law to restrain the spirit of antichrist, but the forces of lawlessness are strong and when the Holy Spirit is removed the full extent of man’s rebelliousness will be revealed. In our lives if we reject the leading of the Holy Spirit then we soon see manifest the wickedness of our own hearts. But God does not punish us according to our sins He does not treat us as we deserve but His unfailing love is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth (Psalm 103:11).
8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.
9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,
10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,
12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. – 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12
The victorious Christ will finish off the enemy (in his human form) as the antichrist is defeated. People who do not want to accept the truth are open to the strong delusion. People choose to believe what is false (Romans 1:21). This is in effect a punishment, there is no real pleasure in unrighteousness only bondage and slavery to demonic powers. We must remain watchful for deception in our own lives but also for deception all around us. Speaking the truth in love we can help set captive free. We have been liberated by the One who set the word on its foundation, created the heavens and all that is in them and shows us His steadfast love, His mercy, His grace and His righteousness.
13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.
14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter. – 2 Thessalonians 2:13-15
This first verse has a flavour of predestination, “from the beginning God chose you through sanctification…” but we have to give God the glory that He chose us from before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love (Ephesians 1:4) as His gift to us. He has and is sanctifying us and this is such a blessing because how could we have salvation yet remain unholy. We would be so condemned because of our guilt and yet God so loved us that he not only saved us but has made and is making us holy. We receive the glory of Jesus Christ, hallelujah.
Stand firm. Interesting to see in the early epistles that Paul wrote themes that he would build on later: chosen to be in Him (Ephesians 1:4); salvation through sanctification (Ephesians 5:26) and standing firm (Ephesians 6:11) all became main themes of Ephesians.
16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace,
17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. – 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
Paul wanted to get a message of comfort across to the Thessalonians who were suffering from persecution. In this prayer He asks that the Lord Jesus himself and God our Father comfort their hearts through His eternal grace. Paul has recognised their present distress, but assured them that righteous judgment is coming. Although there is a strong deception in the world Jesus is coming and will glorify His saints. God has loved us – it is something He has done, not of us but from Him. We love God because he first loved us. From that position of being loved we can be established in every good work and word.
1 Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you,
2 and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith.
3 But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.
4 And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. – 2 Thessalonians 3:1-4
The Lord is faithful. He will guard us. We are surrounded by people who have no faith but we are the light is the world. A city set on a hill. When we are going through hard times those around us watch as see how we deal with the situation
“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:10
The Lord watches over us and sees how our heart responds. But He never lets us face something that he has not already made a provision for. Lovely that Paul had confidence in the Thessalonians. They were doing and will do the will of God.
May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ. – 2 Thessalonians 3:5
2 Thessalonians 3:5 (NLT) 5 May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.
It all comes from the Lord. He leads us in paths of righteousness (Psalm 23:3) to a place here we can have a full understanding of the love of God, see the expression of the love of God in the sacrificial love of Christ and be totally astounded at the patient endurance that comes from Christ. We have nothing to offer from ourselves apart from our hearts. We worship and adore the lord for all the Holy and Righteous God had done for us and offer up our heart felt sacrifice of praise. We come with reverence and awe before the One who has done it all for us.
6 Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.
7 For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you,
8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. – 2 Thessalonians 3:6-8
On the face of this this seems a straightforward instruction to avoid idle people and to be a good example by working hard. But it is a command and in the name of Jesus so that makes it important. Why do we have to work? Because of the fall? Adam was told to tend and keep the garden of Eden before the fall but subsequently the ground became cursed and Adam had to toil (with pain, labour, hardship and sorrow) with sweat on his face (Genesis 3:19) . Paul wanted to be an example. A living epistle. His way of life spoke the gospel. We do well to imitate godly people around us. Be imitators of God beloved children (Ephesians 5:1) learn from our Heavenly Father, through the example Jesus gave us.
9 It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate.
10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.
11 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies.
12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. – 2 Thessalonians 3:9-12
The theme of not being idle and working continues. I love this passage from Proverbs 6:
6 Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.
7 Without having any chief, officer, or ruler,
8 she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest,
11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. – Proverbs 6:6-11
In my early days as a Christian I heard a message on this passage and it has always stuck with me. Whenever I see an ant running around it reminds me the Lord has given us such a capacity to be industrious yet so often we run around not listening to the voice of our Master who will guide us in paths of righteousness. We are called to work together as servants of the Most High in unity and this is illustrated so well in ant colonies. Amazing that the Lord can teach us from the tiniest of His creatures. Humbling!!
16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.
17 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the sign of genuineness in every letter of mine; it is the way I write.
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. – 2 Thessalonians 3:16-18
Paul’s blesses the church asking the Lord of peace to be with them. At all times and in all ways. Persecution or prosperity, calamity or calm, the Lord of Peace is with us. The peace of God that passes understanding. The Lord is our sole source of peace, He does not give us peace, He IS our peace.
Paul states that he actually wrote the letter himself, the personal touch, as the would normally use a scribe. Then he gives the blessing we all need: the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.
If you want to know more about how to enter a relationship with God, how to be forgiven of your sins and how to become a Christian please take a look at the Gospel section above or get in touch with me through the contact me page.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.