Summary: This section forms a transition between the teaching on the Day of the Lord & exhortations for present living. In contrast to those who believe Satan’s lies, here are those who believe the truth of God. In this section there are three life impacts that co
[ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THE FUTURE Series]
2 THESSALONIANS 2: 13-17
A PEOPLE OF TRUTH
This section forms a transition between Paul’s teaching on the Day of the Lord (2:1-12) and his exhortations for present living in view of that day which follow (3:1-15). Right here the Holy Spirit blows fresh breath upon His children as He contrasts the previous topics of judgment, eternal punishment, apostasy, and the Man of Sin with salvation, sanctification, security, grace, hope, and the Lord Jesus Christ. In contrast to those who refuse to love and obey the truth - here are those willing to do both. In contrast to those who believe Satan’s lies - here are those who believe the truth of God. In contrast to those who follow the Antichrist - here are those who follow Christ. In contrast to lostness is salvation. In contrast to rebellion is sanctification. In contrast to eternal judgment is glorification. For we find here warm thanksgiving and encouragement in the bright prospects which await believers.
The contrasts between the lost and the saved come about due to a belief in or a rejection of the truth. In this section there are three life impacts that come as a result of believing and acting on God’s truth (CIT).
I. PERSUADED BY THE TRUTH, 13-14. [CHOSEN & CALL BY GOD]
II. PERSEVERE IN THE TRUTH, 15. [RESPONDING TO GOD]
III. PRACTICE THE TRUTH, 16-17. [SUPPORTED BY GOD]
The character, grounds, and implications of Paul’s thanksgiving are included in verses 13-15. [This gratitude is grounded in the gospel, especially in God Himself taking the initiative in our salvation.] Verse 13 describes our obligation to offer thanks for the work of God in the lives of believers. “But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.”
In contrast to the unbelievers previously discussed, the Thessalonians were a source of gratitude to the apostles. Paul felt a strong obligation to thank God for them continually. Prolonged observation of the Thessalonian’s love and life revealed that God had saved them and was saving them. This made them brethren or brothers, but they were more than that, they were “beloved by the Lord.” They were his brothers and sisters in the faith, loved by the Lord though despised and persecuted by their godless neighbors.
Do you understand that you too are beloved by the Lord? Don’t let the tough circumstances of life keep you from realizing that you are one of God’s beloved children.
Those “in Christ” (Eph. 1:4; 1 Cor. 2:7) were chosen [heilato, past tense of aireō, “to take or pick,” used only here & in Phil. 1:22] by God from the beginning or before the foundation of the world. God’s sovereignty and man’s free will dwell side by side throughout the Scriptures. Human and divine responsibility are linked together as the divine initiative seeks and awaits human response.
The Bible consistently teaches that the initiative in salvation comes from God, not man. Salvation begins and ends with God. Our own merit can do nothing to save us. We must freely accept God’s gift of salvation. There is no other way to receive the forgiveness for our sin.
The means God uses to bring about salvation in individuals is the work of His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit draws people to Christ (John 6:44). Those who truly belief in Christ are then indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Then He teaches and leads believers into sanctification or Christ-likeness (Rom. 8:29) as we belief and obey God’s truth.
It is through the sharing of the gospel that God calls people to salvation as verse 14 indicates. “It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
God called the readers to salvation by using the gospel proclaimed by the missionaries in Thessalonica. God’s purpose in doing so was that the believers might one day share the splendor and honor that Jesus Christ now enjoys, seated at the right hand of the Father (1:10-12).
Notice their salvation and sanctification [“for this’] depended on the sharing the gospel. It seem inadequate to us that God’s work depends on fallible and unfaithful people like us. Yet God has given us the astounding privilege of leading people to Him through the sharing of His gospel. I hope you’ll join with His Sprit in telling the world how to find salvation.
II. PERSEVERE IN THE TRUTH, 15.
The result of knowing our future can bring endurance in the way of God as verse 15 teaches. “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.”