1 & 2 Thessaloniansby Sim Kay Tee
The Thessalonian believers had more than done well. Having commended them for their steadfastness and comforted them with God's justice (see 2 Thessalonians 1:1-10), Paul now challenges them to an even deeper walk with God (vv. 11-12).
Paul prayed continuously for them, as we saw earlier in 1 Thessalonians 1:2. Now, he re-affirms his commitment to intercede for them: ″We constantly pray for you″ (2 Thessalonians 1:11).
Asking God to do an even deeper work in their lives, Paul prays that the God who chose to save them would empower them to lead a life that is ″worthy of his calling″ by doing good works (v. 11).
Salvation is God's gift and can never be earned by doing good works. In Ephesians 2:8-9, Paul makes this clear: ″God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it″ (NLT).
While we are not saved by doing good works, we are nevertheless saved so that we can do good works. The great church reformer Martin Luther put it this way: ″We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.″
Good works are the outward evidence that we are saved and that we follow Christ. God wants us to be ″eager to do what is good″ and to ″abound in every good work″ (Titus 2:14; 2 Corinthians 9:8). This is why Paul, speaking of salvation in Ephesians 2:8-9, sets forth one of the purposes for which God saves us: ″We are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do″ (v. 10).
In 2 Thessalonians 1:12, Paul reiterates this point by reminding the Thessalonians that ″the name of our Lord Jesus [would] be glorified in you, and you in him″ when they faithfully did good to all. What a privilege to share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ!
There is more. When we excel in good works, God the Father is also glorified (Matthew 5:16). Both God the Father and Jesus the Son will be glorified. What an awesome outcome!
Leading a godly life by doing good, however, was not something that the Thessalonians could accomplish by their own will and strength. Once again, Paul reminded them that only the grace of God could enable them to live a life worthy of Him. It is God who gives the capacity to do good works: ″This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ″ (2 Thessalonians 1:12, NLT). What amazing grace!
What does a life worthy of God's calling look like? How would bringing glory to Jesus motivate you to godly living?
What is one good work you can do this week that will bring joy and glory to the Lord?