Why do you think God spends so much time in his Word trying to encourage and strengthen us? Have you read First and Second Thessalonians? Paul is not giving us a prosperity Gospel – “be warmed and filled”. If you think about it, knowing what Paul knew of persecution personally, he would be unwise to tell them anything but, “HOLD ON TO YOUR FAITH BECAUSE THINGS ARE GOING TO HIT THE FAN”. If you would be godly in this evil world, you will suffer persecution and need God’s power, strength, hope and encouragement to see you though – all of which God is promising us in this passage.
2 Thess 3: 13But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. 16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
Who are you Lord?
I AM the Lord of glory, the God of hope and encouragement. I AM the God who calls and sanctifies you. I AM the God who strengthens you to be used by me to share my glory with the world. I love you and chose you to be saved and thus share in the glory of Christ.
I AM the God of truth. Believe the truth of my gospel which I gave through my apostles. Don’t reject it. My truth is the only thing that can save, sanctify, encourage, strengthen and give hope for the future. It is my Word and my bond to you.
I know things are looking grim, but I have called you to be my light to the world, and salt in your society for preservation and the spice of life. Yes one day I will come for you, but this is not that day yet. In the mean time, or until then, I have given you so many promises to rely on based on my true character to hold on to, so thrive for my glory. You are not alone in your trials; millions of believers are suffering for their faith at this very moment and are praising the Lord for the encouragement that I give to them.
Paul is trying to tell us that the Christian life is not about a life of ease. He is warning us that IF we want our lives to count for eternity, there will be hardships. In the end times, like in the days of Noah, people will be oblivious to the spiritual condition of their hearts. And just like in 1 thess ch 5, people will be saying “peace and safety” until destruction comes. So we need to stand firm.
In light of the trials and hardships in chapter one and the coming of the evil one of Satan and his domination of the world in chapter 2, we can walk with confidence and hope in this dark generation of lawlessness. God is the one who can encourage us and give us the strength not only to survive, but to thrive and spread His word to this lost world as his witnesses with confidence. He is the one who sanctifies us so that by his word we can remain pure. He is the one who can share his glory with us so that others can see the truth and be set free. So until he comes again, we have work to do by his power.
More to come,