Wednesday, 11 October 2017
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, 2 Thessalonians 2:16
In these words, Paul presents a prayer which is connected to the exhortation he just made. He asked those in Thessalonica (and thus us!) to “stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.” In response to these words, he issues a prayer to confirm this in them. In a rather unusual construction, he says, “Now may the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father…” In this, he begins with Jesus, and only then does he move to the Father. This is the opposite of 1 Thessalonians 3:11 –
“Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you.”
The reason for placing the Lord Jesus first is because of words which follow, and which describe the work of the Father. However, in doing this, there is the implicit hint, as is seen so many times elsewhere, of the equality of the Persons within the Godhead. The word “and” between the two shows that they are separate and distinct (a Godhead is thus identified), and that they are equal within this Godhead. As this is a prayer made directly to Jesus, as well as to the Father, it recognizes the equality of the two.
With that understood, it says that it is God the Father “who has loved us.” God the Father is the Source of the love which is being expressed in the thought. His love for us is what then leads to Paul’s next thought, that He has “given us everlasting consolation.” These words describe a type of comfort which is enduring, and which cannot be robbed from us. No matter what happens, our comfort will endure. How untypical of all other faiths where adherents place their lost loved ones in the grave, and who then mourn their eternal loss. But this is completely untrue with the Christian faith. As Paul noted in verse 13, God chose us “for salvation in (as the Greek reads) sanctification by the Spirit.”
This is the everlasting consolation now being referred to. Those in Christ are saved, and they have been sanctified. Every terrifying thing described earlier in the chapter (and elsewhere in Scripture) concerning those who fail to come to Christ has no bearing on us. Instead, we have the everlasting consolation “and good hope by grace.” The words in Greek read “in grace.” This denotes the mode of the everlasting consolation and good hope which we have been given. Grace is the element in which it occurs and is experienced. The words here then correspond to verse 13 –
“God from the beginning chose you for salvation in sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.”
“God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope in grace.”
We are chosen for salvation in sanctification, and we are given everlasting consolation and good hope in grace. This shows us the extent of the Father’s love for us. He sent Christ Jesus to accomplish these things for us in order to reconcile us to Him, and it is this Gift of Christ Jesus which is a reflection of His unlimited grace. Praise be to God.
Life application: If you struggle with the concept of the Trinity, that’s OK. It is a difficult concept for us to grasp. Not fully understanding something, however, does not mean that we cannot accept it as true. The word of God clearly teaches this doctrine, and so we are expected to accept it by faith, even if we do not fully understand it. Have faith in God’s word, and do not let others bring you into error because they are unwilling to take God at His word.
Lord God, we may not understand everything presented in Your word, but we can still have faith that Your word is true. And this isn’t a naive trust in a dubious thing. Rather, it is trust in a word which has confirmed itself countless times. It has been proven true so many times that we would be ignorant fools to not accept the parts we don’t yet get. Our faith is grounded, and our hope is sure. We step into Your revealed light when we enter into the pages of Scripture! Amen.