2 Thessalonians 1** The second epistle to the Thessalonians was written soonafter the first. The apostle was told that, from someexpressions in his first letter, many expected the second comingof Christ was at hand, and that the day of judgment would arrivein their time. Some of these neglected their worldly duties. St.Paul wrote again to correct their error, which hindered thespread of the gospel. He had written agreeably to the words ofthe prophets of the Old Testament; and he tells them there weremany counsels of the Most High yet to be fulfilled, before thatday of the Lord should come, though, because it is sure, he hadspoken of it as near. The subject led to a remarkableforetelling, of some of the future events which were to takeplace in the after-ages of the Christian church, and which showthe prophetic spirit the apostle possessed. * The apostle blesses God for the growing state of the love andpatience of the Thessalonians. (1-4) And encourages them topersevere under all their sufferings for Christ, considering hiscoming at the great day of account. (5-12)1-4 Where there is the truth of grace, there will be anincrease of it. The path of the just is as the shining light,which shines more and more unto the perfect day. And where thereis the increase of grace, God must have all the glory. Wherefaith grows, love will abound, for faith works by love. It showsfaith and patience, such as may be proposed as a pattern forothers, when trials from God, and persecutions from men, quickenthe exercise of those graces; for the patience and faith ofwhich the apostle gloried, bore them up, and enabled them toendure all their tribulations. 5-10 Religion, if worth anything, is worth every thing; andthose have no religion, or none worth having, or know not how tovalue it, cannot find their hearts to suffer for it. We cannotby all our sufferings, any more than by our services, meritheaven; but by our patience under sufferings, we are preparedfor the promised joy. Nothing more strongly marks a man foreternal ruin, than a spirit of persecution and enmity to thename and people of God. God will trouble those that trouble hispeople. And there is a rest for the people of God; a rest fromsin and sorrow. The certainty of future recompence is proved bythe righteousness of God. The thoughts of this should beterrible to wicked men, and support the righteous. Faith,looking to the great day, is enabled partly to understand thebook of providence, which appears confused to unbelievers. TheLord Jesus will in that day appear from heaven. He will come inthe glory and power of the upper world. His light will bepiercing, and his power consuming, to all who in that day shallbe found as chaff. This appearance will be terrible to thosethat know not God, especially to those who rebel againstrevelation, 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 inorder to our obeying the precepts of the gospel. Though sinnersmay be long spared, they will be punished at last. They didsin's work, and must receive sin's wages. Here God punishessinners by creatures as instruments; but then, it will bedestruction from the Almighty; and who knows the power of hisanger? It will be a joyful day to some, to the saints, to thosewho believe and obey the gospel. In that bright and blessed day,Christ Jesus will be glorified and admired by his saints. AndChrist will be glorified and admired in them. His grace andpower will be shown, when it shall appear what he has purchasedfor, 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 thatglory! The glory of thy justice in the damnation of the wickedwill be admired, but not as the glory of thy mercy in thesalvation of believers. How will this strike the adoring angelswith holy admiration, and transport thy admiring saints witheternal rapture! The meanest believer shall enjoy more than themost enlarged heart can imagine while we are here; Christ willbe admired in all those that believe, the meanest believer notexcepted. 11,12 Believing thoughts and expectations of the second comingof Christ should lead us to pray to God more, for ourselves andothers. If there is any good in us, it is owing to the goodpleasure of his goodness, and therefore it is called grace.There are many purposes of grace and good-will in God toward hispeople, and the apostle prays that God would complete in themthe work of faith with power. This is to their doing every othergood work. The power of God not only begins, but carries on thework of faith. And this is the great end and design of the graceof our God and Lord Jesus Christ, which is made known to us, andwrought in us.
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