Journal – June 13, 2021
10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
2 THESSALONIANS 2:13-17
But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, 14 to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.
Vs. 13, 14 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, Paul has just concluded the verses on the coming of Antichrist, and now he writes, but we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord. In telling the Thessalonians of the thankfulness they have for them, he does not fail to include Silas and Timothy (we are bound to give thanks to God for you,). He had been addressing them on a serious and agitating matter, but now he calls them brethren beloved by the Lord, as he turns to their election and salvation coupled with a prayer for their stability. We see the tenderness of Paul and his contemporaries as he adds a word of thanksgiving for them, exhortation to continue steadfast and comfort. We thank God for your election because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. The objective working of the Holy Spirit (whose final aim in this world is sanctification), is followed by the subjective, the actual receiving of faith, and the believing of the word. Holiness is due to the immediate action of the Holy Spirit which is also produced by the Holy Spirit’s instrumentality by belief. And belief is the result of the Holy Spirit’s influence upon the heart, an influence which changes and sanctifies. The choice of God is, from its nature an eternal choice, though His call takes place in time, and through the preaching of the gospel. This divine and ultimate aspect and origin of human salvation the apostle rejoices to contemplate, as rising above all human instrumentalities, weakness and failures, it carries all back to His blessed sovereignty and His gracious self-formed purpose, and gives Him all the glory. There are thus two aspects or sides of the element in which the divine choice realizes itself—the divine or objective aspect, sanctification by the Spirit; and the human or subjective aspect, believing reception of the truth. The two things are closely associated. (vs.14) to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul is embracing all he has said that precedes the actual calling out to which He called you by our gospel. It is also a word of esteem, love, and affection; what we love we call ours. All the apostle is now speaking of is the final consummation of faith and sanctification wherein they acquire or take possession of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. God who chose them in eternity past, has at the predestinated time called them, and now for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ they are exempt from eternal death and spend eternity glorifying Him. The saved in the Saviors glory-rich, ennobling, and eternal, divine plan all-purpose full stretching from eternity and leading onward to Christ’s glorification in a coming eternity.
Vs. 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. The apostle admonishes the Thessalonians to do their part and stand fast, the Greek steko is present tense meaning stand firm—now! These two words joined together have a similar meaning to the soldier whose outfit has just run the enemy off an important position, and the command comes down “Stand Fast”! It means dig your hole a little deeper, clear away anything that could block your vision, make sure you have your ammo, clean your weapon and try to get some sleep because they will be back to try to take over. The Greek krateo means be strong, mighty and prevail, to lay on or take hold on. Using these terms with a modern-day application we see the terms have a similar application as back in the apostle’s day. The heathen Gentiles, the unbelieving Jews, and anyone looking for an argument were all going to be a force to contend with as these born again, believing Thessalonians go about their daily activities. The apostle sees fit to forewarn them, this is an eternal matter, and you are going to be challenged; your condition is believing and sanctified the end of your divine call. Therefore, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught by word or our epistle. God does not overlook anything that concerns your souls, therefore do your part, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, remembering that God works it in you, and it is your responsibility to work it out (Philippians 2:12-13). Now then brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, being brothers in the family of God, don’t let your peace be taken from you. If you stop and consider, you will find that in most instances you will find a matter in which you are going to have to make a stand, regardless of the insults that may be heaped upon you.
Vs. 16, 17 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work. The apostle in offering this prayer first mentions Him for whose glory they are set apart and asks comfort and strength to guard the Thessalonians on their way to that glory, and to prepare them for it. Now God the Father is the ultimate source of all spiritual blessing. Both as the one object of prayer, are to the apostle divine, for Divinity is the living object of adoration (May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father). The argument being that the honor of the Son is not less than that of the Father though He is usually mentioned second, as in the baptismal service—the order of the names are not involving difference of dignity. The work of God is a past act and is no doubt the love manifested in the mission of the only begotten Son of God; For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life John 3:16. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins 1 John 4:10. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) Ephesians 2:4-5. God’s gift of His love came into this world and died for such as I am, don’t even try to top that! Know this that there are evils, trials, changes, and struggles around believers—without fightings within fears; so many temptations to harass them; so much indwelling sin to oppress them, so much to create sorrow and hopelessness that they have a pressing need of comfort. The comfort they have is in the awareness of their Father’s love, and in the conviction that all they suffer is for their good, and what is laid on them is less than they deserve, and that grace given them to bear it so that where afflictions abound, consolations much more abound. This is true of all time, and such assurances and enjoyments last forever. Along with this also—and good hope. That hope regards the future, and is good not only in its basis, but in its cheering power, and in the blessed object which it contemplates. The gift of God in its combined aspect of consolation and hope takes effect in His grace, that grace being opposed to necessity on His part, and to any merit on ours. The prayer is that our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work. These Thessalonians had been troubled about the Second Coming of the Lord so the apostle prays that they may be comforted with no self-created consolation or human sympathizer, but by our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father revealing a unity of operation. (vs. 17) Comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work, or in all you do and say may you be strengthened.
Then there will be the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide. There you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, and all your choice offerings which you vow to the Lord. 12 And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your sons and your daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates, since he has no portion nor inheritance with you. Deuteronomy 12:11-12.
A thorough study of God’s Word reveals a very balanced view of worship, i.e., the biblical view of worship is neither a legalistic approach nor something which is nebulous and left to human innovation. A casual reading of the Pentateuch might give the impression that the worship of God as given to Moses was demanding and intricate, with manifold requirements for sacrifices, offerings, and a myriad of details which made such worship a burden rather than a blessing.
Great consideration must be given to an element which is often overlooked–rejoicing. The very attitude of Israel in worship was one of freely rejoicing in the salvation of God and His deliverance, sustenance and provision. Have we, as professed believers in this gospel economy, lost the simplicity of rejoicing before God in worship?
Catechism Question 67
Q: What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment?
A: The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment are: God’s allowing us six days of the week for our own lawful employments, His challenging a special propriety in the seventh, His own example, and His blessing the Sabbath day.
21 Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.