1 & 2 Thessalonians

by Sim Kay Tee

Day 27

Read 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17

Stability is a coveted quality in every sphere of our lives. We cherish political, economic, and social stability. Living in a stable environment is like sitting on an aircraft flying steadily through turbulence and assuring passengers of a safe flight.

Although we were ″chosen″ before the creation of the world, our election by God becomes evident in our life only when we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the spiritual realm, stability is not only desired, but also commanded (see 1 Corinthians 15:58, 16:13; Galatians 5:1; Philippians 4:1). Hence, Paul instructed the Thessalonian believers, who were buffeted by the strong winds of false teaching, to anchor themselves on God's truth-to ″stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you″ (2 Thessalonians 2:15).

Paul had earlier assured his readers that they were ″loved by God″ and ″he has chosen you″ (1 Thessalonians 1:4). Now, as he urged them to remain steadfast, Paul reminded them to cling to the same unassailable truth of God's loving election and call. They were so ″loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ″ (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; emphasis added).

The doctrine of God's election is much debated today. But as Bible scholar John Stott observed, this doctrine is almost always mentioned in Scripture for pastoral, practical reasons-″in order to foster assurance, holiness, humility and witness″.17

That God ″elects″ people is seen in His call to Abraham, His choice of Jacob over Esau, and His selection of Israel out of all nations to be His treasured possession. Paul also says that ″[God] chose us in [Christ] before the creation of the world . . . In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship″ (Ephesians 1:4-5; see also Romans 8:28-33). That's why Christians are also called ″God's elect″ or ″God's chosen″ (Romans 8:33; Titus 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1).

God did not choose us because we were worthy. He chose us before we ″were born or had done anything good or bad, plainly showing that God's act of choice has nothing to do with achievements, good or bad, but is entirely a matter of his will″ (Romans 9:11-12, PHILLIPS).

Other verses tell us what lies behind God's choice: God ″set his affection on you and [chose] you because . . . the Lord loved you″ (Deuteronomy 7:7-8; see also 4:37; 10:15). And ″God saved us and called us . . . not because we deserved it, but . . . to show us his grace″ (2 Timothy 1:9, NLT).

Although we were ″chosen″ before the creation of the world, our election by God becomes evident in our life only when we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. The New Century Version renders 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 in this way: ″You are saved by the Spirit that makes you holy and by your faith in the truth. God used the Good News that we preached to call you to be saved.″ The Thessalonians becoming Christians was proof that God had elected them. For ″all who were chosen for eternal life became believers″ (Acts 13:48, NLT).

In encouraging them to stand firm, Paul pointed the Thessalonian believers to the truth that God chose them because He loved them. And this is the truth upon which we must anchor our faith.

17 John Stott, The Gospel and the End of Time-The Message of 1 & 2 Thessalonians, (IVP, 1991), 31.

Think through:

Why did God save us, according to Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14? What comfort and encouragement can we draw from this, especially when we are suffering?

Read 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17. What is Paul's prayer here for the Thessalonian church? How might his prayer apply to us?




About Author

Sim Kay Tee is a Bible teacher and writer of Our Daily Bread Ministries. Based in Singapore, K.T. writes for the Discovery Series Bible Study guides, the Journey Through Series devotional, and is a regular contributor to the Insights for Our Daily Bread. K.T. has taught the Bible in various countries. He has three daughters and one granddaughter.

Author of Journey Through Series:

Our Daily Bread Journey Through® Series is a publication of Our Daily Bread Ministries.

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