Summary: 1) Peace (2 Thessalonians 3:16a), 2) Strength (2 Thessalonians 3:16b), 3) Truth (2 Thessalonians 3:17), and 4) Grace (2 Thessalonians 3:18).
After the recent election in the United States of Donald Trump for President, continued riots have broken out several states. Rejecting notions like a new border wall, protestors have demanded that Trump step down. Law enforcement officials are calling for hostilities to end so grievances can be presented in a peaceful manner.
The Thessalonian church, so strong in many ways, had been tormented by persecution, false doctrine, fear, and sin. They were threatened by false teachers promising a false peace. The false peace of the unregenerate also has several components. It is the peace of presumption. It is based on pride, not truth, stemming from thinking oneself to be worthy before God. Those who have it are under the mistaken notion that God will accept them because they are good people. It lulls those headed for hell into a false sense that all will be well.
As a people of God we are surrounded with false solutions. Politicians promise more than they can deliver. Advertising allude to benefits that will never materialize. The entertainment industry promises an escape and travel agencies promise a peace (until we look at the travel bill). Only The Lord of Peace can deliver an eternal, unshakeable peace that comes from Him and rests in His unalterable promises.
In 2 Thessalonians 3:16-18, the Apostle Paul calls upon The Lord of Peace to grant four blessings that are essential for spiritual maturity: 1) Peace (2 Thessalonians 3:16a), 2) Strength (2 Thessalonians 3:16b), 3) Truth (2 Thessalonians 3:17), and 4) Grace (2 Thessalonians 3:18).
1) Peace (2 Thessalonians 3:16a)
2 Thessalonians 3:16a 16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. (The Lord be with you all). (ESV)
De (Now) marks a transition, as Paul moves from command and exhortation (vv 6–15) to benediction and prayer (vv 16–18). This passage does not record an actual prayer, but rather expresses the desire of his heart that constantly rises as a cry for God’s blessing. Paul’s first request here, as in his other letters (cf 2 Cor. 13:11; Eph. 6:23), is for that highly prized, yet elusive reality, peace. The world defines peace as the sense of calm, tranquility, quietness, contentment, and well-being that comes when everything is going well. But that definition, frankly, is shallow. A calm, tranquil feeling can be produced by lies, self-deception, common grace, the absence of conflict and trouble, biofeedback, drugs, alcohol, even a good night’s sleep. Such peace is fleeting and easily destroyed. It can be shattered by the arrival of conflict and trouble, as well as by failure, doubt, fear, bitterness, anger, pride, difficulty, guilt, regret, sorrow, anxiety over circumstances beyond one’s control, being disappointed or mistreated by others, making bad decisions—in short, by any perceived threat to one’s security. But true Biblical peace is completely different from the superficial, fleeting, fragile human peace. Paul’s prayer involved much more than a temporary truce in the conflicts troubling the church. In Paul’s Jewish heritage peace was a broad concept encompassing both the absence of conflict and the presence of well-being. That Paul prayed for a peace granted by the Lord of peace makes clear that he was thinking of a spiritual reality that goes beyond human peace, one that can exist even in the midst of temporal turmoil (cf. Phil 4:6–9). It arises from the knowledge that all that is rests in the hands of the Father. And so it is possessed only by those who have learned to trust their Lord and God (Martin, D. M. (1995). 1, 2 Thessalonians (Vol. 33, p. 290). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.).