Ending 2 Thessalonians 2 today.
13But 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. 14To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.
16Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.
It's odd, Jim's been preaching through Galatians lately and that is what my Sunday School student and I are basing lessons on, so I've just come from Paul's despair over the Galatian church to his love and appreciation for the Thessalonican church. Such a difference. Don't think I would have noticed it before if I hadn't done this jumping from one to another. Shows the differences in churches doesn't it?Anyways, the start of this chapter, which I talked about here, had Paul reminding this church that ultimately, God is in control. The man of lawlessness will come, but just by breathing he will be destroyed by Christ.
Now Paul moves on to talking about how God loves them.
"God chose you as the first-fruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth".Now isn't that clear? First-fruits -- the first chosen. And it is a choice. GOD's choice. God choses those whom he would save. He saves us through the sanctifying work (the work to make us holy) of the Holy Spirit. We are enabled by the Spirit to believe the truth.
He calls us through the gospel being presented. When we are effectively called by the gospel we get the glory of Christ! So then says Paul... STAND FIRM!
What are they to stand firm to? That which was taught to them by Paul. Not to listen to these outsiders coming in trying to mess up what they know to be true. They know that Christ is coming back. They know that the man of lawlessness needs to put in an appearance first. They know that God is ultimately in control. So Stand firm to what they know to be true.
oh my...this holds so true for the church today as well. So many outside influences trying to tell us what to believe and why what we believe isn't the whole truth. We need to say (and be told) to stand firm to what we know to be true. I need to do this as well. :) To not just rely on my hubbie to keep me firm to what I know, but to look at what I've been taught, and what I know God's word says and not let myself be influenced by those around me...who just might not have my best interests at heart. :)
Paul closes this chapter with a prayer that God and Christ Jesus himself provide the church with eternal comfort and hope through the grace he bestows on us. May the church be comforted in their hearts and established in the good they do.
ah..those words of comfort...and they are.
To know that one can depend upon what one knows to be true of God. To have his grace comfort our very selves. It helps one to stand firm and to be established in the good they do.