2 Thessalonians 1:3-4 ESV
“We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.”
I don’t know most of you personally, i.e. I have not met you nor have I become acquainted with you in person, so I only know what you tell me about yourselves or I know nothing if I never hear from you at all. But I can tell you what I observe from what I read of what you write and from how you respond to me and to what the Lord Jesus gives me to write.
And although I have observed that a large majority of those professing faith in Jesus Christ are not living for the Lord, some of whom believe they don’t have to, but they are still walking according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit, and they are living worldly lives, for the most part, and God is not their Lord and Master, there is a remnant who have not compromised.
I see that there are those who are few in number who are still holding true to the word of God and to the gospel of Jesus Christ as he taught it, and as his New Testament apostles taught it, and they are walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, and they are encouraging one another in their walks of faith to live to the Lord and to his righteousness.
You bless me! You encourage my heart. I see the love that you have for one another, and that blesses and encourages me and it inspires me. And I see how you are operating as the body of Christ is supposed to operate in sharing your spiritual gifts and your God-given ministries with the body of Christ for their encouragement and for their spiritual growth and maturity.
2 Thessalonians 1:5-8 ESV
“This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.”
Isn’t this interesting wording? In this day and age with so many people teaching that our salvation is not dependent on how we live at all but that God does it all and he requires nothing of us, we read here talk about us being considered worthy of the kingdom of God. And this is in reference to us being steadfast in faith in our persecutions and in our afflictions.
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” Matt 10:37-38
So, we can be unworthy of Christ? What does that mean? It means we can’t be one of his true disciples. We are not regarded as one of his true followers, so we are not genuinely saved from our sins. We are not Christians. We are not true believers in Jesus Christ. We are not worthy of his grace. If we do not honor Jesus as Lord and turn from our sins and follow him in obedience we have no part in him.
[Lu 9:23-26; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 22:8; Eph 4:1; Php 1:27; Col 1:10; 1 Thess 2:12; 2 Thess 1:5, 11; Rev 3:4]
But if we do turn from our sins and follow Jesus in obedience to his commands, and if we do honor him as Lord (Master) of our lives, and if our lives are surrendered to him to follow him in the ways in which he would have us to go, by his grace, and in his power and strength, then we are considered worthy. We are his true disciples.
And although right now we are suffering for the sake of righteousness and for the name of Jesus Christ and for his gospel, one day all this suffering will be over when Jesus returns for us, his bride, and he takes us to be with him for eternity. One day we will be with our Lord and all our pain and sorrow will be over, and sin will no longer exist. Praise the Lord!
But for those who refuse to bow the knee to Jesus Christ and to submit to the Lordship of Christ and who are convinced that they do not have to forsake their sins or walk in obedience to the Lord, so they are continuing to walk in sin and not in righteousness, God will inflict vengeance on them and they will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction.
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 ESV
“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
And so the prayer here is that God would make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power. You still have to cooperate with his work, though. You still have to do what he says. He doesn’t just zap you and now you are worthy. You have to live a life worthy of him, but you do it by his grace, and in his strength and power.
And this is so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. And God’s grace trains us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return (Tit 2:11-14). And Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (1 Pet 2:24; Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).
The name of the Lord Jesus will not be glorified in us, though, if we continue to live in sin, deliberately and habitually committing the same sins over and over again in direct defiance of our Lord and of his commands. For we will be judged by what we do. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction, but if we sow to please the Spirit, we will reap eternal life.
[Rom 2:6-8; Gal 6:7-8; 2 Co 5:10; 1 Co 6:9-10; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Rom 6:16; Rom 8:1-17; Jn 15:1-11; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rev. 2-3; Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:14-15; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27]
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
*Caution: This link may contain ads