2 Thessalonians 1

** The second epistle to the Thessalonians was written soon

after the first. The apostle was told that, from some

expressions in his first letter, many expected the second coming

of Christ was at hand, and that the day of judgment would arrive

in their time. Some of these neglected their worldly duties. St.

Paul wrote again to correct their error, which hindered the

spread of the gospel. He had written agreeably to the words of

the prophets of the Old Testament; and he tells them there were

many counsels of the Most High yet to be fulfilled, before that

day of the Lord should come, though, because it is sure, he had

spoken of it as near. The subject led to a remarkable

foretelling, of some of the future events which were to take

place in the after-ages of the Christian church, and which show

the prophetic spirit the apostle possessed.

* The apostle blesses God for the growing state of the love and

patience of the Thessalonians. (1-4) And encourages them to

persevere under all their sufferings for Christ, considering his

coming at the great day of account. (5-12)

1-4 Where there is the truth of grace, there will be an

increase of it. The path of the just is as the shining light,

which shines more and more unto the perfect day. And where there

is the increase of grace, God must have all the glory. Where

faith grows, love will abound, for faith works by love. It shows

faith and patience, such as may be proposed as a pattern for

others, when trials from God, and persecutions from men, quicken

the exercise of those graces; for the patience and faith of

which the apostle gloried, bore them up, and enabled them to

endure all their tribulations.
5-10 Religion, if worth anything, is worth every thing; and

those have no religion, or none worth having, or know not how to

value it, cannot find their hearts to suffer for it. We cannot

by all our sufferings, any more than by our services, merit

heaven; but by our patience under sufferings, we are prepared

for the promised joy. Nothing more strongly marks a man for

eternal ruin, than a spirit of persecution and enmity to the

name and people of God. God will trouble those that trouble his

people. And there is a rest for the people of God; a rest from

sin and sorrow. The certainty of future recompence is proved by

the righteousness of God. The thoughts of this should be

terrible to wicked men, and support the righteous. Faith,

looking to the great day, is enabled partly to understand the

book of providence, which appears confused to unbelievers. The

Lord Jesus will in that day appear from heaven. He will come in

the glory and power of the upper world. His light will be

piercing, and his power consuming, to all who in that day shall

be found as chaff. This appearance will be terrible to those

that know not God, especially to those who rebel against

revelation, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is the great crime of multitudes, the gospel is revealed,

and they will not believe it; or if they pretend to believe,

they will not obey it. Believing the truths of the gospel, is in

order to our obeying the precepts of the gospel. Though sinners

may be long spared, they will be punished at last. They did

sin's work, and must receive sin's wages. Here God punishes

sinners by creatures as instruments; but then, it will be

destruction from the Almighty; and who knows the power of his

anger? It will be a joyful day to some, to the saints, to those

who believe and obey the gospel. In that bright and blessed day,

Christ Jesus will be glorified and admired by his saints. And

Christ will be glorified and admired in them. His grace and

power will be shown, when it shall appear what he has purchased

for, and wrought in, and bestowed upon those who believe in him.

Lord, if the glory put upon thy saints shall be thus admired,

how much more shalt thou be admired, as the Bestower of that

glory! The glory of thy justice in the damnation of the wicked

will be admired, but not as the glory of thy mercy in the

salvation of believers. How will this strike the adoring angels

with holy admiration, and transport thy admiring saints with

eternal rapture! The meanest believer shall enjoy more than the

most enlarged heart can imagine while we are here; Christ will

be admired in all those that believe, the meanest believer not

excepted.
11,12 Believing thoughts and expectations of the second coming

of Christ should lead us to pray to God more, for ourselves and

others. If there is any good in us, it is owing to the good

pleasure of his goodness, and therefore it is called grace.

There are many purposes of grace and good-will in God toward his

people, and the apostle prays that God would complete in them

the work of faith with power. This is to their doing every other

good work. The power of God not only begins, but carries on the

work of faith. And this is the great end and design of the grace

of our God and Lord Jesus Christ, which is made known to us, and

wrought in us.

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