2 Thessalonians 2:13–3:5
In contrast to those who love wickedness and rush after the Antichrist willing to deceive and eager to be deceived, Paul thanks God for the believers in Thessalonica.
They are “beloved by the Lord,” and Paul reminds them “God has chosen you from the beginning.” This is reminiscent of his comment in 1 Thessalonians: “Knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you” (1:4).
Be Steadfast (2:13–15)
Paul instructs the church, “Stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught.” The false teachings were leaving them “shaken” and “disturbed” (2:2), but they could stand confidently on the truth of God’s revelation which Paul had preached. In Ephesians 6:11–14, Paul urges God’s people to wear the full armor “that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil … to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm,” and once more they are told to “stand firm therefore.” We stand for truth and against unrighteousness with the faithful.
Be Encouraged (2:16–17)
The Lord who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by His grace is the One who will now comfort and strengthen our hearts in every good work and word. How good is this promise!
Be Prayerful (3:1–2)
We love that the great apostle asks for prayer for himself. He frequently does this in his epistles — among them Ephesians 6:19, Colossians 4:3 and 1 Thessalonians 5:25. I’ve actually known people who felt requesting prayer revealed a weakness. That is so foolish. Samuel said to the Israelites, “Far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you” (1 Sam. 12:23).
Praying for our leaders is our duty, our privilege and our opportunity. A leader of our denomination said after someone else was elected to take his place, the next day he actually felt a difference because all the prayer that previously went up for him was now being showered on his successor.
Be Confident (3:3–5)
We’re confident of two big things, Paul says. First, the Lord is faithful. He is a promise-keeper, dependable in all His ways. We can count on Him. Second, He will strengthen and protect us from the evil one. We love the insight of 1 John 4:4, that “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
I’ve known Christians who were so wrapped up in their studies of Satan they seemed to live in fear of him. Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28).
Or, better yet, trust Him as our loving Lord. After all, “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).
By Joe McKeever
Pastor, writer and cartoonist from Ridgeland, Mississippi.