Monday, 17 July 2017
…that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. 1 Thessalonians 3:3
In the previous verse, Paul noted that he had sent Timothy “to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith.” He now notes that this was so “that no one should be shaken by these afflictions.” In the coming verse, he will note that he had previously told them that they would suffer tribulations. Thus, the afflictions are being used in a comparable manner to “tribulations.”
In saying that “no one should be shaken,” he uses a word unique to Scripture, sainó. It literally means, “to wag the tail.” Hence it by implication can mean to greet, flatter, or disturb. However, it appears from the context that the original meaning is appropriate. Just as easily as a dog shakes its tail, so could a believer be shaken if they were not prepared for what lies ahead in the afflictions that are sure to come.
Paul then reminds them of something he has obviously already told them about (and as will be explicit in the next verse), which, as he says, “you yourselves know that we are appointed to this.” No Christian is exempt from tribulations, and anyone who was brought to Christ with a message of security and prosperity was brought to Him under a false presentation of the gospel. These things may come, but the opposite is what should normally be expected.
The world hates the gospel message because the world belongs to the devil. And the devil will do everything possible to destroy the faith of God’s people, and to undermine the spreading of this message. Any church that teaches the prosperity gospel will be held accountable for the mishandling of God’s word. The one who receives Christ is to be instructed in the epistles of Paul, and the instruction is to be by maintaining proper context.
In such instruction, they will learn that tribulations are to be expected, but they will also be prepared for those tribulations by being grounded in the words which have been given to prepare them for those things.
Life application: Are you having trials and troubles in your Christian walk? If so, then it is something that the word said would come.
Lord God, as faithful believers in Christ, Your word tells us that we are to expect afflictions and tribulations, not wealth and prosperity. The latter may come, but there are no promises of that in this life. Rather, the prosperity gospel is a false gospel. Help us to realize this, and then to study Your word and be grounded in it so that when trials arise, we will be prepared for them. Surely You are with us, even in such dire times. Thank You for this reassurance. Amen.