Sunday: Faithful by God’s Choice

The language of this section recalls the prayer at the beginning of 1 Thessalonians.

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It is almost as if Paul is returning to the place where he began, creating a natural conclusion to this pair of letters. Paul here expresses his concern that the believers in Thessalonica not deviate from the path on which he has placed them.

Read 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17. Why does Paul thank God for the Thessalonians? What does he ask them to do in this passage? In what ways are these words so pertinent to us today, so near the end?

The lives of the Thessalonians provided evidence to Paul that they had been chosen as “first fruits to be saved” (ESV).Some translations say “from the beginning.” Though salvation is a gift, the believer experiences it through sanctification of the Spirit and belief in the truth. The life of the believer is more than just a subjective experience; it is solidly grounded in truth.

That is why Paul is so concerned that the Thessalonians hold to the doctrines they have been taught, both by letter and the spoken word. People’s grasp of truth often slips with the passage of time, which is why we must always be affirmed by those who preach and teach us.

In the early days of the church, there was even a preference for oral tradition over written tradition. Oral tradition is less subject to unintentional distortion. Tone of voice and gestures communicate meaning more accurately than do words on a page. This is why preaching as a method of communication never grows old.

But written tradition, as in the letters of Paul, is less subject to intentional distortion by those who would alter the gospel for their own purposes. The written word provides a secure and unchangeable norm by which one can test the oral messages that come through preaching. In the book of Acts, the Bereans were commended because they combined attention to the oral messages with careful examination of the Scriptures (Acts 17:11).

Read again the texts for today. So many forces are always at work trying to pry us away from the truth. Look at how you have changed over time. Do these changes reveal a slow, steady settling into the truth or slow, steady movement away from it? In other words, in what direction is your life moving?



Sunday: Faithful by God’s Choice — 4 Comments

  1. Praise be to God for the second part of verse 13 'because God...', its parallel to 1 Thess 5:9, what an amazing thought to have in mind that God is really longing to save us. Paul is stressing this because thats the heart of the plan of redemption, we all, like he did, aught to give thanks to the Lord. May God help us to consciously have this thought in whatever we do and wherever we are. 2 Peter 3:9. Amen.

    • Good questions, Gary. Perhaps the most well known Bible passage dealing with this is Paul's struggle with sin in Romans 7. Perhaps we will struggle in this way as long as we have the Spirit of Christ within carnal bodies. this naturally produces a conflict between the desires of the flesh and those of the Spirit. However, as we grow in grace, we surrender more of our selfishness to the will of that Spirit. Perhaps this is what is meant by settling into the truth.

      The Bible tells us that we will not receive pure bodies until Jesus returns. (See 1 Corinthians 15:52-54) Until then we struggle. I look forward to the day when that struggle will be over. I'm sure you do as well.

  2. Settling in the truth is a life of self denial as we surrender daily to Christ and His life changing truth. We die unto self and our fleshly desires as we go through a process called sanctification. This is a lifetime process that carries on untill we are changed at the return of Christ to be clothed with immortality and incorruptible bodies.We will always love sin as long as we have the bodies of sin but as we surrender to Christ the sinful nature withers and good works show as we are transformed into the likeness of Christ. We also then grow in hating sin and loving truth untill we see Jesus face to face.


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