Thursday, July 14, 2022

2022.07.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Thessalonians 2:13–14

Read 2 Thessalonians 2:13–14

Questions from the Scripture text: What is the apostolic team indebted to give to Whom (2 Thessalonians 2:13)? How often? For what (whom!)? What does the apostle call them? What had God done in this love, when? For what had He chosen them? Through what would this salvation come? By Whose work? Through what mechanism? What role had the apostolic team been given (2 Thessalonians 2:14a)? For what ultimate end (verse 14b)? 

What is the point of salvation, and what does that demand of us?  2 Thessalonians 2:13–14 looks forward to the second serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these two verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God’s loving, eternal election of some unto salvation demands both His praise by declaring His ultimate power and glory and our participation by establishing second causes. 

A debt of gratitude. Here is one of the great statements in Scripture of what we now call the “Reformed” (formed back again according to the Bible, correcting errors of men) doctrines of grace. ▫All salvation began with the love of God. “brethren beloved by the Lord.” ▫This love and election is before time. “God from the beginning chose you for salvation.” ▫Faith is the alone mechanism. “through […]belief in the truth.” ▫Preaching is the appointed means. “to which He called you by our gospel” ▫Sanctification is a necessary component. “through sanctification” ▫The Spirit is great Accomplisher. “by the Spirit” ▫The glory of the Son is the ultimate end. “for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

And since salvation is entirely from the free pleasure of a loving God by the free actions of an all-powerful God, it places us under a debt, concerning believers. We are obligated to give thanks. Always. It may be difficult for our ungrateful, fleshly hearts to produce. But it’s not complicated. God, Who is under no obligation to do so, is gladly saving sinners that deserve His wrath. So, we who neither deserve or could accomplish this salvation, are under obligation to give Him thanks.

A privilege of participation. This is not to say that we do nothing in salvation—only that none of it is done in our own goodness or power. 

Belief in the truth is real and necessary. No one is saved without being counted righteous (justified). No one is counted righteous except in Jesus. And the only way to be in Jesus, and to be counted righteous in Jesus, is through faith in Him. One must hope entirely in what Jesus has done and not at all in what we or anyone else has done.

Sanctification is real and necessary. The blessedness into which we are saved is one that is only experienced as a blessing if we are holy. The wicked shall experience the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power forever (cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:9). The difference is that, in an unholy state, this experience will be “destruction”). Those whom the Spirit gives the true hope of the gospel are led by the Spirit to purify themselves as He is pure, to live as the children of a holy God (cf. Romans 8:9, Romans 8:13–15; Hebrews 12:14; 1 John 3:2–3). This is different than in justification, because in sanctification there is grace-sustained effort. 

Preaching is real and necessary. We are given the privilege not only of participation in our sanctification, but sometimes in the moment of another’s abandoning of his own works and hoping only in Christ and Christ’s works. We can almost hear the apostle’s wondering gratitude as he writes, “to which He called you by our gospel”! This work of everlasting love and almighty power incorporated and used the apostle’s preaching. What a privilege and honor!

A purpose of praise. At what does this all aim? “The obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He is already infinitely glorious, of course. But this magnifies and praises that glory. That was God’s aim in planning and accomplishing our salvation. And it should be our aim in calling others to faith, and even in coming to faith ourselves. It is all for the glory of God in Christ!

How/when do you give thanks? For whose salvation? How are you participating? Unto what end?

Sample prayer:  Lord, how great is the generosity of Your grace and the power of Your grace! Forgive us for when we think as if we have determined or accomplished any of our salvation or others’ salvation. And how generous You are to include and involve us in parts of it. Forgive us for when we fail to participate, or to acknowledge that it is Your goodness and power that are at work even in our participation. Grant unto us to be continually thankful, to the praise of Your glory in Christ, in Whom we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP98 “O Sing a New Song to the LORD” or TPH98A “O Sing a New Song to the LORD”

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