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2 Thessalonians 1-3

11/28/2019

A Devotional Journey 
    led by Dr. Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible in a Year
 
            2 Thessalonians appears to have been written a few months after the first letter.  The topics approach are quite similar:  1) believers are encouraged in the face of persecution; 2) no one is to use the imminent return of Christ as an excuse for idleness; 3) there is no need for anyone to become unsettled or alarmed by false reports that Christ has returned already. 
 
            It is interesting that 18 of the 47 verses in this letter have something to do with the return of Christ.
 
            Chapter one begins with Paul’s normal greetings as well as a complimentary and encouraging statement of his regard for the Christians in Thessalonica.  The justice of God both in His protection and support of those who belong to Him, and in His judgment and punishment of those who reject Him is emphasized.  His prayer is for their continued faithfulness and for their blessing and support from God.
 
            In chapter 2, a unique figure emerges:  the man of lawlessness.  This figure is presented as one who will lead a major rebellion against God and as a result is already doomed to destruction.  Not only will he oppose God, but he will present himself as God.  It would appear that he is one of the many antichrists mentioned by John in his first letter (1 John 2:18), and is perhaps the worst of all, the antichrist presented in Revelation 13.  1 Thessalonians 2:9 makes clear that this individual is not Satan..  He has no power to act without God’s permission and is, in fact, being held back until the appropriate time in God’s plan.   His ultimate defeat is proclaimed in the exact Greek words as are used for Judas Iscariot in John 17:12.
 
            The description in chapter 2 is instructive:  1) signs and wonders can be counterfeited to support the most evil enterprise (something we need to be careful to remember); 2) those who follow Satan’s agents do not do so out of God’s abandonment but out of their own decision.
 
            In chapter 3, Paul asks for prayer and warns those who are not working.  In the first instance, he is concerned about the opposition which continues to arise from those who oppose God’s will – both in his own ministry and in the lives of the Thessalonian Christians.  Secondly, he is concerned that people are using their religious beliefs as an excuse to avoid the everyday responsibilities of their lives.  Paul insists that no one should take advantage of other people’s generosity:  “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” is his slogan.

           Just before his concluding greetings, Paul instructs his readers on how to treat those who oppose God’s will:  they are to be shunned – not in any self-righteous assertion by those who stop associating with them, but in the sincere and loving hope that they will be brought to their senses and decide to return to God’s Way.
 
            Today, ask yourself:  am I living as God would want me to?  Ask Him to show you areas in which you should grow and/or change and then, refusing to be idle, go to work!