2 Thessalonians 2

* Cautions against the error that the time of Christ's coming

was just at hand. There would first be a general apostacy from

the faith, and a revealing of the antichristian man of sin.

(1-4) His destruction, and that of those who obey him. (5-12)

The security of the Thessalonians from apostacy; an exhortation

to stedfastness, and prayer for them. (13-17)

1-4 If errors arise among Christians, we should set them right;

and good men will be careful to suppress errors which rise from

mistaking their words and actions. We have a cunning adversary,

who watches to do mischief, and will promote errors, even by the

words of Scripture. Whatever uncertainty we are in, or whatever

mistakes may arise about the time of Christ's coming, that

coming itself is certain. This has been the faith and hope of

all Christians, in all ages of the church; it was the faith and

hope of the Old Testament saints. All believers shall be

gathered together to Christ, to be with him, and to be happy in

his presence for ever. We should firmly believe the second

coming of Christ; but there was danger lest the Thessalonians,

being mistaken as to the time, should question the truth or

certainty of the thing itself. False doctrines are like the

winds that toss the water to and fro; and they unsettle the

minds of men, which are as unstable as water. It is enough for

us to know that our Lord will come, and will gather all his

saints unto him. A reason why they should not expect the coming

of Christ, as at hand, is given. There would be a general

falling away first, such as would occasion the rise of

antichrist, that man of sin. There have been great disputes who

or what is intended by this man of sin and son of perdition. The

man of sin not only practises wickedness, but also promotes and

commands sin and wickedness in others; and is the son of

perdition, because he is devoted to certain destruction, and is

the instrument to destroy many others, both in soul and body. As

God was in the temple of old, and worshipped there, and is in

and with his church now; so the antichrist here mentioned, is a

usurper of God's authority in the Christian church, who claims

Divine honours.
5-12 Something hindered or withheld the man of sin. It is

supposed to be the power of the Roman empire, which the apostle

did not mention more plainly at that time. Corruption of

doctrine and worship came in by degrees, and the usurping of

power was gradual; thus the mystery of iniquity prevailed.

Superstition and idolatry were advanced by pretended devotion,

and bigotry and persecution were promoted by pretended zeal for

God and his glory. This mystery of iniquity was even then begun;

while the apostles were yet living, persons pretended zeal for

Christ, but really opposed him. The fall or ruin of the

antichristian state is declared. The pure word of God, with the

Spirit of God, will discover this mystery of iniquity, and in

due time it shall be destroyed by the brightness of Christ's

coming. Signs and wonders, visions and miracles, are pretended;

but they are false signs to support false doctrines; and lying

wonders, or only pretended miracles, to cheat the people; and

the diabolical deceits with which the antichristian state has

been supported, are notorious. The persons are described, who

are his willing subjects. Their sin is this; They did not love

the truth, and therefore did not believe it; and they were

pleased with false notions. God leaves them to themselves, then

sin will follow of course, and spiritual judgments here, and

eternal punishments hereafter. These prophecies have, in a great

measure, come to pass, and confirm the truth of the Scriptures.

This passage exactly agrees with the system of popery, as it

prevails in the Romish church, and under the Romish popes. But

though the son of perdition has been revealed, though he has

opposed and exalted himself above all that is called God, or

that is worshipped; and has spoken and acted as if he were a god

upon earth, and has proclaimed his insolent pride, and supported

his delusions, by lying miracles and all kinds of frauds; still

the Lord has not yet fully destroyed him with the brightness of

his coming; that and other prophecies remain to be fulfilled

before the end shall come.
13-15 When we hear of the apostacy of many, it is a great

comfort and joy, that there is a remnant according to the

election of grace, which does and shall persevere; especially we

should rejoice, if we have reason to hope that we are of that

number. The preservation of the saints, is because God loved

them with an everlasting love, from the beginning of the world.

The end and the means must not be separated. Faith and holiness

must be joined together as well as holiness and happiness. The

outward call of God is by the gospel; and this is rendered

effectual by the inward working of the Spirit. The belief of the

truth brings the sinner to rely on Christ, and so to love and

obey him; it is sealed by the Holy Spirit upon his heart. We

have no certain proof of any thing having been delivered by the

apostles, more than what we find contained in the Holy

Scriptures. Let us then stand fast in the doctrines taught by

the apostles, and reject all additions, and vain traditions.
16,17 We may and should direct our prayers, not only to God the

Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, but also to our Lord

Jesus Christ himself. And we should pray in his name unto God,

not only as his Father, but as our Father in and through him.

The love of God in Christ Jesus, is the spring and fountain of

all the good we have or hope for. There is good reason for

strong consolations, because the saints have good hope through

grace. The free grace and mercy of God are what they hope for,

and what their hopes are founded on, and not any worth or merit

of their own. The more pleasure we take in the word, and works,

and ways of God, the more likely we shall be to persevere

therein. But, if we are wavering in faith, and of a doubtful

mind, halting and faltering in our duty, no wonder that we are

strangers to the joys of religion.

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