Summary: Paul tells the truth about the steps that God uses to obtain our salvation ... and the truth about what to do with our salvation once God has poured out His grace upon us.
“To Tell The Truth”
INTRODUCTION: In our last study we saw how Paul told them the TRUTH about the coming of the Lord (Rapture) … and events during the Tribulation Period (2:1-12)
Satan had sent LIES to the Christians at Thessalonica in the form of a fake, counterfeit letter – 2:2
Satan will bring LIES to those in the Tribulation Period from the lips of the Anti-Christ – 2:9-12
Paul has just told them the TRUTH about prophetic events … what life will be like in the Tribulation Period.
Paul is NOW going to tell them (us) the TRUTH about how we are to live NOW.
The study of prophecy should always impact our PRESENT life … NOT JUST get us ready for the future.
2:13b – “belief of the truth” – Do you remember the TV show (in the 60’s) – “To Tell The Truth”?
3 people were presented to a panel of 4 celebrities … 1 was the Real McCoy … the other 2 were imposters.
All 3 would answer questions from the panel, but only 1 was telling the truth … the panel had to guess which 1 was telling the truth … though all 3 were very convincing.
(If memory serves me correctly, the host was Bud Collier, and the panel was Bess Myerson, Polly Burgen, Henry Morgan & Tom Poston … or was that “What’s My Line?”)
ANYHOW … the LIE can often be very convincing … and the TRUTH can be very hard to distinguish.
Paul tells these Thessalonian Christians that he is thankful for their acceptance of the TRUTH.
In 2:13-14, Paul gives them the TRUTH about their SALVATION.
Here, we find the steps that God uses for our salvation:
1.- LOVE – “beloved” – 2:13
Why did God save you? Because He LOVED you.
You had done nothing worthy of His love … but He loved you anyhow.
Romans 5:8 – “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
God’s love for you is totally by His “grace” … and He saved you because of His “mercy”.
“grace” – giving to you what you don’t deserve.
“mercy” – not giving to you what you do deserve.
Don’t ever think that you were “good enough” to be saved … even the BEST of us were without ANY merit whatsoever.
2.- ELECTION – “chose” – 2:13
It wasn’t God’s love alone that saved you … He loves everybody, but not all will be saved.
Why, then, did God save YOU? Simply because God “chose” you – 1 Thess. 1:4
God would have been justified in not choosing ANYBODY … but allowing ALL to go to Hell.
He didn’t HAVE to save ANYBODY … but He chose to extend His grace and mercy on SOME.
Eph. 1:4 – “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.”
1 Peter 1:2 – “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father …”
I don’t understand all there is to know about God’s “election” … but I believe the Bible and the Bible says that every Christian is the “elect” of God … “chosen” by Him.
I wasn’t adopted … my parents didn’t have a choice … they didn’t CHOOSE me … they got stuck with me!
If I was adopted, they would have CHOSEN me out of all the other children that were up for adoption … that would have made me very “special” … an act of “grace” and “mercy”.
That’s 1 view of “election”.
HOWEVER … God CHOSE me to be given to my parents at birth.
I could have had parents who were abusive, addicts, or unloving.
I could have been born Asian, African, Hispanic or Indian.
I could have been born to parents who were Muslim, Hindu, agnostic or atheist.
God chose to give me to wonderful parents to be raised in a Christian home (I thank God for that!).
God knew who He was going to give me to (before my birth) “from the beginning”.
He made it REAL on October 1, 1949.
This is another view of “election” … both are an act of “grace” and “mercy”.
EITHER WAY … I didn’t have a choice … God did the choosing … He did the placing of me into my earthly family … He knew what He was doing.
When God chose you before you were ever born to be a part of His Heavenly family, He did it out of His LOVE, GRACE & MERCY.
John 15:16 – “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you.”
On your own, you would never have chosen Jesus … if He first hadn’t chosen you.