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.”
In America today, and perhaps in other nations, too, Christians like what is described here are rare. But if this fits you, and if this is where you are spiritually, and you are walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, and you are walking in obedience to the Lord in his righteousness and holiness, and you are growing to maturity in Christ Jesus, our Lord, and you are loving one another with God’s love, then praise the Lord!
You are most likely also experiencing the kind of persecutions and afflictions as what are mentioned here for the sake of your steadfast walk of faith in Jesus Christ, and because you stand on the truth of God’s word, and because you refuse to compromise with the world. Be encouraged! You are not alone! Many Christians throughout the world are suffering persecution for their walks of faith in Jesus Christ. So, keep on persevering in faith.
2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 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. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.”
What does it mean to be considered worthy of the kingdom of God? And how does that relate to the previous verses where it talks about the saints of God who were abundantly growing in the faith, whose love for one another was increasing, and who were steadfast in faith in all the persecutions and afflictions that they were enduring? It means their walks of faith gave evidence of their worthiness of the kingdom of God.
And NO, this is not teaching works-based salvation, as some of you might think. It is teaching what the Scriptures teach which is that how we live our lives for the Lord matters to God and for eternity. For Jesus said that if we love our family members more than we love him that we are not worthy of him, meaning that we don’t have him as our Lord and Savior, and we are not part of his eternal kingdom, for we would not make him Lord.
And if we do not take up our cross (die with Jesus to sin) and follow (obey) him, we are not worthy of him. And Jesus said, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” And so we are urged to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called, and we are to let our manner of life be worthy (worthwhile, fitting, suitable) of the gospel of Christ, and we are to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work.
[Matt 10:37-38; Lu 9:23-26,62; Eph 4:1; Php 1:27; Col 1:10; 1 Thess 2:12]
So, what this is saying is that the genuiness of our faith is revealed in what we do, and in how we live. If we walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, and if we walk in obedience to our Lord and not in sin, and if we forsake our lives of sin to follow Jesus, this is evidence of God’s righteous judgment, that we might be considered worthy of the kingdom of God.
On the other hand, if we make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, and even pray a prayer to “receive” Christ, but we continue living in deliberate and habitual sin, and we do not obey our Lord, and we do not repent of (forsake our sins) to follow Jesus in his ways and in his truth, and we do not honor Christ as Lord of our lives, then this is evidence that we are not considered worthy of the kingdom of God, and we will not inherit eternal life with God.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10]
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.”
Many people today are professing faith in Jesus Christ, believing that their sins are forgiven (past, present, and future), and that heaven is secured for them for when they die. But they are ignoring the bulk of what the Scriptures teach regarding what qualifies us for eternal life with God, for not everyone is saved. Not even everyone who makes a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. And our salvation is not a one-time deal and then we are good to go, but it is a process of sanctification that lasts a lifetime.
The Scriptures make it quite clear that we must die with Christ to sin, not just once, but daily, and that we are now to conduct our lives according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, and that we are to walk in obedience to our Lord in surrender to him as Lord of our lives. This is what faith is. It is action, not just words. It is obedience to our Lord. And our faith is proved genuine by what we do. And if we choose not to obey, we don’t have eternal life with God (see Scripture references above).
So, this is why we are urged to live a life worthy of the calling of God and of Jesus Christ and of his gospel. And this is why Paul prayed for the Thessalonian Christians, that God would make them worthy of his calling, for if we are not worthy, then we are not fit for the kingdom of God, and thus we do not have eternal life with God. And these are not my words. You can read about this in the Scriptures. It is what they teach.
So, be those who are worthy, by the grace of God, according to Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins and his resurrection from the dead, and in his strength and power, by God-given faith in Jesus Christ. For that faith, which comes from God, and not from ourselves, submits to Christ as Lord, it forsakes our lives of sin, and it walks in obedience to our Lord and to his commands in the power and working of God’s Spirit now living within us to the praise and glory of God.
Listen to Our Hearts
Songwriters: Geoff Moore / Steven Chapman
How do you explain, how do you describe
A love that goes from east to west
And runs as deep as it is wide?
You know all our hopes,
Lord, you know all our fears.
And words cannot express the love we feel,
But we long for You to hear.
So listen to our hearts.
Hear our spirit sing
A song of praise that flows
From those you have redeemed.
We will use the words we know
To tell you what an awesome God You are.
But words are not enough
To tell you of our love,
So listen to our hearts.
Caution: This link may contain ads