Reflecting the Glory

Key Verse: “We are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.”
—II Thessalonians 2:13

Selected Scripture:
II Thessalonians 1:3, 4, 11, 12; 2:13 – 3:4

PAUL OPENS HIS SECOND EPISTLE to the Thessalonians by thanking God for the brethren whom he was addressing. (II Thess. 1:3) Specifically, he thanked God for their growing faith and their love which seemed to abound toward one another. What a beautiful testimony of their faithfulness is given from Paul’s simple statement of thanksgiving for them. He takes the matter a step further in verse 4, by saying that, as he traveled and visited the various churches he had helped establish, he spread the word of their faithfulness, so that all who heard gloried in it. He states, “we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure.”—vs. 4

Although Paul realized that the church at Thessalonica had been faithful, he also knew that they would continue to be tested and tried, and that maintaining their faithful course would not be accomplished in their own strength, but in God’s. He prayed that God would continue to work in them to the completion of that which had been begun. In verse 11 we read, “We pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power.” Paul indicates that it was really God’s work which was being fulfilled in the Thessalonian church—‘his goodness,’ and his ‘work of faith with power.’ He wanted them to realize that all the glory and honor in the development of each member of the Church belonged exclusively to God and his faithful Son, Jesus Christ, and that it was only through grace that we could even be products of such a work. “That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”—vs. 12

In our lesson Paul recounts how they had been specially chosen by God to receive salvation, on their faith in being sanctified and because of their understanding of the Truth of God’s Word. This points out that to realize the hope of a heavenly salvation requires more than mere belief. It also requires an understanding of God’s plan, his Truth, and the resulting sanctifying effect that knowledge should have on our character. Without these two additional things, God’s Truth and its sanctifying effect, we could not be found fit for a place in Christ’s heavenly kingdom. Realizing this, Paul admonished the brethren to “stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught.” (chap. 2:15) He also prayed that God would “comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.”—vs. 17

In concluding our lesson, Paul expresses to the brethren that the Lord is faithful, and has confidence that they would be also. He says, “The Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you.” (chap. 3:3,4) Let us also be confident, not in our own strength, but in the Lord’s, and remember the words, “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised).”—Heb. 10:23

Dawn Bible Students Association
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