2 Thessalonians 2* Cautions against the error that the time of Christ's comingwas just at hand. There would first be a general apostacy fromthe 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 exhortationto 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 frommistaking their words and actions. We have a cunning adversary,who watches to do mischief, and will promote errors, even by thewords of Scripture. Whatever uncertainty we are in, or whatevermistakes may arise about the time of Christ's coming, thatcoming itself is certain. This has been the faith and hope ofall Christians, in all ages of the church; it was the faith andhope of the Old Testament saints. All believers shall begathered together to Christ, to be with him, and to be happy inhis presence for ever. We should firmly believe the secondcoming of Christ; but there was danger lest the Thessalonians,being mistaken as to the time, should question the truth orcertainty of the thing itself. False doctrines are like thewinds that toss the water to and fro; and they unsettle theminds of men, which are as unstable as water. It is enough forus to know that our Lord will come, and will gather all hissaints unto him. A reason why they should not expect the comingof Christ, as at hand, is given. There would be a generalfalling away first, such as would occasion the rise ofantichrist, that man of sin. There have been great disputes whoor what is intended by this man of sin and son of perdition. Theman of sin not only practises wickedness, but also promotes andcommands sin and wickedness in others; and is the son ofperdition, because he is devoted to certain destruction, and isthe instrument to destroy many others, both in soul and body. AsGod was in the temple of old, and worshipped there, and is inand with his church now; so the antichrist here mentioned, is ausurper of God's authority in the Christian church, who claimsDivine honours. 5-12 Something hindered or withheld the man of sin. It issupposed to be the power of the Roman empire, which the apostledid not mention more plainly at that time. Corruption ofdoctrine and worship came in by degrees, and the usurping ofpower 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 forGod and his glory. This mystery of iniquity was even then begun;while the apostles were yet living, persons pretended zeal forChrist, but really opposed him. The fall or ruin of theantichristian state is declared. The pure word of God, with theSpirit of God, will discover this mystery of iniquity, and indue time it shall be destroyed by the brightness of Christ'scoming. Signs and wonders, visions and miracles, are pretended;but they are false signs to support false doctrines; and lyingwonders, or only pretended miracles, to cheat the people; andthe diabolical deceits with which the antichristian state hasbeen supported, are notorious. The persons are described, whoare his willing subjects. Their sin is this; They did not lovethe truth, and therefore did not believe it; and they werepleased with false notions. God leaves them to themselves, thensin will follow of course, and spiritual judgments here, andeternal punishments hereafter. These prophecies have, in a greatmeasure, come to pass, and confirm the truth of the Scriptures.This passage exactly agrees with the system of popery, as itprevails in the Romish church, and under the Romish popes. Butthough the son of perdition has been revealed, though he hasopposed and exalted himself above all that is called God, orthat is worshipped; and has spoken and acted as if he were a godupon earth, and has proclaimed his insolent pride, and supportedhis delusions, by lying miracles and all kinds of frauds; stillthe Lord has not yet fully destroyed him with the brightness ofhis coming; that and other prophecies remain to be fulfilledbefore the end shall come. 13-15 When we hear of the apostacy of many, it is a greatcomfort and joy, that there is a remnant according to theelection of grace, which does and shall persevere; especially weshould rejoice, if we have reason to hope that we are of thatnumber. The preservation of the saints, is because God lovedthem with an everlasting love, from the beginning of the world.The end and the means must not be separated. Faith and holinessmust be joined together as well as holiness and happiness. Theoutward call of God is by the gospel; and this is renderedeffectual by the inward working of the Spirit. The belief of thetruth brings the sinner to rely on Christ, and so to love andobey him; it is sealed by the Holy Spirit upon his heart. Wehave no certain proof of any thing having been delivered by theapostles, more than what we find contained in the HolyScriptures. Let us then stand fast in the doctrines taught bythe apostles, and reject all additions, and vain traditions. 16,17 We may and should direct our prayers, not only to God theFather, through our Lord Jesus Christ, but also to our LordJesus 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 ofall the good we have or hope for. There is good reason forstrong consolations, because the saints have good hope throughgrace. The free grace and mercy of God are what they hope for,and what their hopes are founded on, and not any worth or meritof their own. The more pleasure we take in the word, and works,and ways of God, the more likely we shall be to perseveretherein. But, if we are wavering in faith, and of a doubtfulmind, halting and faltering in our duty, no wonder that we arestrangers to the joys of religion.
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