I love Scripture. If you know me you probably (…hopefully) know that about me. I love to read about stories past and experience how it still affects us today. In reading Scripture I pray that God would give me wisdom in discerning what I’m reading. There are different denominations and traditions that interpret Scripture differently, so why wouldn’t I ask for wisdom in interpreting the Word correctly? I pray for wisdom and clarity in understanding what I am reading and I ask that the Lord would speak to me through what I’m reading.
I’m making my way through the New Testament-having finished 1 and 2 Corinthians in addition to 1 Thessalonians in the recent weeks-and am reading 2 Thessalonians now. Specifically concerning the passage I am reading, I’m comforted by God’s providence over us. Paul starts out the passage in saying, “But we should always give thanks to God for you,” (v. 13) which encourages me to thank God for my friends and my local church and past churches. Every good and perfect gift is a gift from above, correct? This includes spiritual friends that help me stay disciplined as a believer in areas of reading Scripture, prayer, staying pure, and loving others. There is so much to be thankful for and we may never “out-thank” God for what he has given.
We give thanks “because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth” (v. 13). What a beautiful process. God, having chosen us for salvation, also sanctifies us by the Spirit. A study bible I have tells me Paul’s main point was to remind the Thessalonians there was no reason to be agitated or troubled, thinking they had missed the rapture and that they were in the Day of the Lord’s judgment. What does this verse say to us? Am I worried about my finances, my work, my family, my nation, my government? I don’t have to be, knowing how the Lord is clearly for me, by way of sanctifying me by the Spirit and my personal faith in the truth. God called us through his Gospel “that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 14). God chooses us through sanctification and faith so we may gain the glory of the Son of God, Son of Man, the Messiah. With this in mind, Paul tells us to “stand firm and hold on to the traditions which you were taught” (v. 15). I can stand firm knowing what God has already done for me and what he will do through me.
Paul summarizes what this favor is. It is “eternal comfort and good hope by grace,” given by the one “who has loved us” (v. 16). Are you anxious? Are you worried? My prayer for you reading this is you rest in this eternal comfort and good hope. Paul asks that the Lord would “comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word” (v. 17). Rest in his comfort. Dwell in his Word. Be encouraged by his peace. Because in the end, we win, right? Thank you for reading.