Friday, December 04, 2009

2 Thessalonians 3:1-5

V1-5 – 1Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. 2And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. 3But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 4We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. 5May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.

Paul wraps up with a request for prayer, not so much for himself as for the word of God, the gospel, to “spread rapidly and be honored.” He relied wholehearted on prayer for the success of his ministry and the fruition of God’s will (Romans 15:30-31; 2 Corinthians 1:11; Philippians 1:19). He understands what Vincent Cheung says: “We ask God to make His word effective in us and in those who hear us. We ask God to sanctify us by His Spirit and through the truth. We ask God to help us stand firm and hold to the doctrines that have been passed on to us in the apostolic and biblical traditions. To strengthen our brothers, we remind them of the promises and the faithfulness of Christ, and then we ask God to encourage their hearts by a direct action in the soul through these doctrines. Thus Christian life and ministry place all the emphasis on intellectual doctrines, but place all the expectation on gracious divine action to render these doctrines effective in us and in others.”

In v2, Paul reveals his desire to be delivered from evil (Matthew 6:13). He longs for prayer in that regard, and he acknowledges why this prayer is necessary; as Calvin says, “Faith is a gift of God that is too rare to be found in all.” In that acknowledgement, Paul implies that people of faith are to live holy lives, different from the wicked people of the world (Matthew 13:24-30). Paul also encourages all believers in v3 to rely on the faithfulness of God in answering this prayer, not only for Paul, but for all of His children (Malachi 3:6; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 10:13; 2 Corinthians 1:18; James 1:17).

In v4-5, Paul exhibits confidence in the Thessalonians and prays that God would continue to preserve them in their diligence. They loved God and waited patiently for Christ, all the while loving one another.

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