2 Thessalonians 3:4

Monday, 16 October 2017

And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you. 2 Thessalonians 3:4

Paul just said, “But the Lord is faithful.” In agreement with that, he continues with, “And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you.” Paul’s confidence is not at all in the faithfulness of those in Thessalonica. Instead, it is a confidence for them which is grounded in the Lord. This is the same thing that he relays to others, such as the church in Philippi –

…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippines 1:6

Paul understood the wretched state of the human heart, and its ability to not effectively work out anything but evil. However, when one is in Christ, there is the truth that Christ’s power and purposes can be realized in us in a way which was previously not possible. This doesn’t mean that saved believers are automatons which can rely on Christ doing everything for us, but that when we are willing to submit to Him, we are able to do what He expects of us. Our human will is not excluded from the process, and we can choose to work out evil even after coming to Christ. But if we desire to do as He wills, He will ensure that it is possible for us to do so.

Paul then states what that confidence in his hearers is – “both that you do and will do the things we command you.” It is the same formula which is found throughout Paul’s writings. God presents an offer; man receives the offer. It is a synergistic working of God’s divine offer and assistance being coupled with man’s human efforts.

This does not mean that man’s works are credited for salvation. God has done all the work, but man must respond to the offer by exercising faith. Romans 3:27 excludes faith as being considered a work. After salvation, our proper walk in Christ follows this same pattern, but it then involves human effort beyond faith. We must “work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippines 2:12).

As far as the word “command.” It is a word which signifies a watchword or command that has full authorization because it has gone through the right and correct channels. Paul’s commission is specifically noted in Acts 9. He (and those with him) had the full authority of Christ Jesus to make such commands as authorized by the Lord. He will begin to give some such commands in just two verses.

Life application: As always, Paul notes that we must actively do something in order for God’s will to be realized in our lives. The Lord makes it possible for us to be pleasing to God, but we still must do in accord with that which the Lord makes possible. Obedience to the Lord’s will must be an active part of our lives, or we will not be pleasing to the Lord.

Heavenly Father, in Christ, You have given us the ability to be pleasing to You, but we also must respond to that divine assistance. To be saved, we must demonstrate faith. To walk rightly, we must demonstrate obedience. Help us to do according to Your will in all things by granting us the wisdom to rightly discern what Your will is, and then to act upon it. To Your glory we pray. Amen.

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