Monday, November 30, 2009

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

V11-12 – 11With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of His calling, and that by His power He may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. 12We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ [or God and Lord Jesus Christ].

Paul concludes this opening chapter with prayer. He remembers the faith of Thessalonians as well as the coming judgment and prays that God would preserve them and further sanctify them (v11). He mentions God’s calling again, and it hearkens us back to 1 Thessalonians 2:12 and foreshadows his coming teaching in 2 Thessalonians 2:14. He also talks about being counted worthy again. This verse is somewhat difficult to translate (Calvin renders it, “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power”) and therefore interpret. But we can acknowledge that in issuing this prayer, he reminds the Thessalonians that perseverance and sanctification are all of God.

Next, Paul reveals why he prays this prayer. It is so Jesus “may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God” (v12). Calvin says, “He calls us back to the chief end of our whole life – that we may promote the Lord’s glory. What he adds, however, is more especially worthy of notice, that those who have advanced the glory of Christ will also in their turn be glorified in Him.” Therefore, says Calvin, “If we are not worse than stupid, we must aim with all our might at the advancement of the glory of Christ, which is connected with ours.”

Finally, you see the alternate translation at the end of v12. This is either Paul’s repeat conveyance of the intimate unity between Father and Son (as in 2 Thessalonians 1:1,2; 2:16; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 3:11), or a clear testimony to the Deity of Jesus Christ (Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1). The Greek phrase could truly be rendered either way. Soli Deo Gloria!

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