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2 Thessalonians 1:1-12 NOTES

2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12 - EXEGESIS

CONTEXT:  Paul sent Timothy to assist the church at Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 3:2). Timothy brought back a good report, but also related issues that Paul addressed in his first letter to the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 3:6ff.). One of those issues was their understanding of the status of "those who have fallen asleep in Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 4:14). Paul assured the Thessalonian Christians that "the dead in Christ will rise first" when Jesus comes again (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

In his first letter, Paul encouraged the Thessalonian Christians to live as if Christ's Second Coming might take place at any time (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11). His second letter acknowledges that Thessalonian Christians have endured persecution (2 Thessalonians 1:4). He tells them of certain events that will precede the Second Coming (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12), and warns against idleness while awaiting it (3:6-15).


1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the assembly of the Thessalonians in God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

"Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the assembly of the Thessalonians in God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ" (v. 1). Today we sign our name at the end of a letter instead of at the beginning, but in Paul's day writers identified themselves at the beginning, and then listed intended recipients. This verse is similar to Paul's salutation in 1 Thessalonians 1:1.

"Silvanus" is the Latin form for Silas. Luke consistently uses Silas in the book of Acts (Acts 15:22, 27, 32, 40; 16:19, 25, 29; 17:1, 4-5, 10, 14-15; 18:5). Paul consistently uses Silvanus (2 Corinthians 1:19; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1). Silas/Silvanus accompanied Paul on his Second Missionary Journey. See THE CONTEXT above for a thumbnail sketch of his role.

"Timothy" was a believer when Paul first encountered him in Lystra. Paul's mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, were both believers (2 Timothy 1:5). Paul asked Timothy to accompany him on his Second Missionary Journey (Acts 16:1-3). Elsewhere, Paul refers to Timothy as "my beloved and faithful child in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 4:17) and "my true child in faith," (1 Timothy 1:2).

"Grace (charis) to you and peace (eirene) from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." (v. 2). Paul continues his greeting with this prayer that they receive the blessing of grace (charis) and peace (eirene) "from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

"Grace" (charis) is a significant word in the New Testament, especially in Paul's epistles. The use of charis in the New Testament has its roots in the Hebrew word hesed, used in the Old Testament to speak of God's lovingkindness, mercy, and faithfulness.

Greeks often used the word charis to speak of patronage (the support of a patron, such as someone who provided financial or political support). To Greeks, the word charis connoted generosity-generosity that demanded loyalty on the part of the recipient.

It is easy, therefore, to understand why Paul would adapt charis to the Gospel. Christian charis is the gift of salvation by God to all who accept the Lordship of Jesus Christ. God, therefore, is the patron-the benefactor. Just as we could never fully repay a person who left us an inheritance of unimaginable wealth, so also we can never repay God for the gift of salvation. However, if a patron were to grant us unimaginable wealth, we could be faithful to the patron by using the money in a way that would be consistent with the patron's wishes or values. So also, we can be faithful to the God who gives us salvation by living in accord with God's will.

"Peace" (eirene) is also a significant word, occurring nearly a hundred times in the New Testament. It has its roots in the Hebrew word shalom, which was used frequently in the Old Testament.

Both eirene (Greek) and shalom (Hebrew) can refer to an inner kind of peace-the kind of well-being that is derived from a deep relationship with God-the kind of wholeness that comes from having the image of God, once shattered by sin, restored in the believer.

But both eirene and shalom can also refer to an external kind of peace-the absence of rancor or violence among individuals or nations.

"from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." These are the sources of the grace and peace for which Paul prays-the fount from which all grace and peace flow.


3 We are bound to always give thanks to God for you, brothers, even as it is appropriate, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of each and every one of you towards one another abounds; 4 so that we ourselves boast about you in the assemblies of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions which you endure.

"We are bound (opheilo) to always give thanks to God for you, brothers (adelphoi), even as it is appropriate, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love (agape) of each and every one of you towards one another abounds" (v. 3). This is an unusual expression of thanksgiving in that the Greek word opheilo suggests obligation-we ought to give thanks-we are bound to give thanks. Some scholars have suggested that this reflects reluctance on Paul's part to give thanks for these Thessalonian Christians.

Others believe that this language, being uncharacteristic of Paul, suggests that someone other than Paul wrote this letter. But it seems better to take Paul's words at face value-that he is truly thankful for their growing faith and their love for one another.

The verbs in this verse are all present tense, which indicates ongoing action. Paul's thanksgiving, the growth of faith, and the love of the Thessalonian Christians for one another are all a work in progress. The word "always" also emphasizes the ongoing nature of these actions.

The abounding love that the Thessalonian Christians have for one another is agape love. The Greeks have other words for love (philos and eros), but Paul uses the word agape here because it is the kind of love that is concerned for the welfare of the other person.

"so that we ourselves boast about you in the assemblies (ekklesiais-churches) of God" (v. 4a). "So that" links this verse with the preceding verse. It is the faith and love of the Thessalonian Christians (v. 3) that causes Paul and his companions to boast about them.

"We ourselves boast about you" is emphatic. This is high praise. Paul and his companions are boasting about the Thessalonian Christians "in the ekklesiais"-in the churches. Their faithfulness would encourage other Christians-other churches. Paul's praise also puts the Thessalonians under pressure to live up to their good reputation.

"for your patience (hupomone) and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions which you endure" (v. 4b). These are the Thessalonian qualities that prompted Paul's praise-patience (hupomone) and faith in the face of persecution and affliction.

The Greek word hupomone can be translated long-suffering or perseverance or endurance. For these Thessalonian Christians, hupomone is endurance in adversity-the ability to stand one's ground when challenged-continuing in faith in spite of difficult circumstances.

Paul isn't specific about the persecutions and afflictions that the Thessalonians are enduring. However, we know that his success in gaining converts, especially among "devout Greeks" (Acts 17:4)-Gentiles attracted to the Jewish faith but not yet proselytes-led to jealousy among the Jewish leaders, who responded with violence and false charges (Acts 17:5-9). Paul had to leave Thessalonica immediately. He went to Berea, where he was well received. However, "when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Berea also, they came there likewise, agitating the multitudes," so that Paul once again had to flee (Acts 17:13-14).

But the Thessalonian Christians couldn't respond to persecution by packing up and leaving. Thessalonica was their home. They had friends there-and homes-and jobs. They therefore found themselves having to endure a hostile environment because of their newfound faith.


These verses are not included in the lectionary reading, but the preacher should be aware of them. In verse 4, Paul mentioned the "persecutions and...afflictions" which the Thessalonian Christians have endured. That leads to a discussion of "the righteous judgment of God" (1:5). Paul assures the Thessalonians that, in the Second Coming, God will reward their faithfulness and punish their persecutors.


11 To this end we also pray always for you, that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire of goodness and work of faith, with power; 12 that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

"To this end" (v. 11a). What is "this"? Is Paul referring back to verses 3-4, where he gave thanks for their growing faith and their love for one another? Or is he referring to verses 5-10, where he talked about God setting things straight at the Second Coming? Probably the latter-the glorification of the saints in the last days (v. 10).

"we also pray always for you" (v. 11b). These verses don't constitute a prayer, but instead describe what Paul and his companions are praying in behalf of the Thessalonica Christians. They are praying for three things:

(1) They are praying that "our God may count you worthy of your calling" (klesis) (v. 11c). The people of Paul's day would have used the word klesis to speak of an invitation to a dinner or another special occasion. There are higher and lower kinds of such callings. Most people would consider an invitation from the president to a White House dinner to be a higher calling than an invitation from an ordinary friend to share a pot of tea. However, both of these would pale by comparison with a calling issued by God to join God's kingdom and to serve God's purposes. Paul and his companions pray that these Thessalonian Christians might, in the last days, be counted worthy of this high calling.

(2) They are praying that God might "fulfill every desire (eudokia) of goodness and work of faith with power" (v. 11d). The Greek word eudokia combines eu (good) and dokeo (which has a variety of meanings, among which are "what seems good" or "what gives pleasure"). We could, therefore, translate eudokia as "good pleasure."

Is Paul praying that God might fulfill God's good pleasure or the good pleasure of the Thessalonian Christians? It could be either, but probably the latter. Either way it has to do with seeing these Thessalonian Christians achieve "goodness and work of faith"-moral and ethical behavior-faithfulness to the faith. They are in the trenches-suffering persecution for their faith. Paul and his companions are praying, then, that the Thessalonian Christians not be distracted by their adversities or the temptations that the tempter is throwing in their path. He is praying that they might hold the helm steady through the storm until such time as they break out into the sunlight beyond the storm.

They are praying that "the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him" (v. 12a). In that time and place, people considered a person's name to be more than a label to identify that person. They believed that something of the person's identity was tied up in the name-that the name expressed something of the person's essential character. While that might sound foreign to us today, it is not. When we talk about a person's reputation, we are talking about something that expresses the essence of that person.

The purpose of Paul's prayer has to do with the witness of these Thessalonian Christians to Christ-that they might, through their faithfulness, glorify (honor) the name of "our Lord Jesus."

"and you in him" (v. 12b). There is a reciprocal quality to the honor bestowed by faithful discipleship. Not only is Christ honored, but the Christian person will be honored as well. Not everyone will honor the faithful Christian-their persecutors certainly have no intention of honoring them. However, Christ will honor them-of that they can be certain.

"according to the grace (charis) of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ" (v. 12c). See the comments above on verse 2 concerning the meaning of grace (charis). It is only by God's grace that any of this is possible. Christians cannot achieve these high standards on their own.



2 Thess. 1:1-12 - Extra Commentary

2 Thessalonians 1:1 "Paul, and Silvanus, and Timothy, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:"

We see the same three names associated with this letter as we did with the first letter. Silvanus here is Silas "Latin". The Latin for Timothy is Timotheus. We see in this greeting, Paul is agreeing that these Thessalonians are in Christ. This is not a church that has strayed away. It is a church that has made up its mind that the Lord Jesus is coming back right then. It is grounded and rooted in the Father and in the Lord Jesus.

2 Thessalonians 1:2 "Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

This is a greeting that Paul uses very often. It makes this letter most assuredly Paul's letter.

2 Thessalonians 1:3 "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;"

"We are bound to thank God": There is a spiritual obligation to thank God in prayer when He accomplishes great things in the lives of His saints. That was the case with the obedient Thessalonians, who had demonstrated growth in faith and love since the first letter. This was in direct answer to Paul's prayers (1 Thess. 1:3; 3:12).

"Your faith groweth": Paul cannot help but say once again how impressed he is with their spiritual growth (1 Thess. 1:2-10). This no doubt, reflects the brevity of his stay there. Their testimony suggests that his earlier fears have been dispelled (1 Thess. 3:5-10).

Paul has no complaint about their faith, or their charity. This is a church that is growing in the knowledge of God. They are more than generous helping with the other's needs. The only thing that could be wrong with this is if they are doing this because they think the Lord will be back immediately. If they are giving from a free heart, there is no error in that.

2 Thessalonians 1:4 "So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:"

"Patience and faith": Nowhere was their growth in faith and love (verse 3), more evident than in the way they patiently and faithfully endured hostilities and suffering from the enemies of Christ. Although there was no need to speak, since the Thessalonians' lives spoke clearly enough (1 Thess. 1:8). Paul's joy before the Lord over their perseverance bubbled up.

Paul is using this church at Thessalonica as an example to the other churches of how they should conduct their affairs. He knows the persecutions have been great, they have endured them like good soldiers.

They are not only generous in their giving, but they are patient, as well. It seems that Paul can find no fault with them. Paul is simply amazed at their faith and patience under such tribulations and persecutions.

2 Thessalonians 1:5 "[Which is] a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:"

"Token" means literally "evidence."

"Of the righteous judgment of God": Another translation would be "for" the righteous. Paul is not saying that their suffering reflects God's judgment rather that it will be "evidence" used in judgment against those who persecute them. God will righteously repay trouble to the wicked (verses 6-8).

"Counted worthy": Their suffering does not qualify them for the kingdom. Instead it is a privilege extended to those who are genuinely members of the kingdom.

"Manifest" is to make real. It seems they are enduring this suffering for the possibility of being counted worthy before God.

"Suffer": Having a right attitude towards suffering is essential and that required attitude is concern for the kingdom of God. They were not self-centered, but concentrated on God's kingdom. Their focus was not on personal comfort, fulfillment and happiness, but on the glory of God and the fulfillment of His purposes.

They were not moaning about the injustice of their persecutions. Rather, they were patiently enduring the sufferings they did not deserve (verse 4). This very attitude was positive proof that God's wise process of purging, purifying, and perfecting through suffering was working to make His beloved people worthy of the kingdom (2:12), by being perfected (James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 5:10).

For believers, afflictions are to be expected (1 Thess. 3:3), as they live and develop Christian character in a satanic world. Suffering is not to be thought of as evidence that God has forsaken them, but evidence that He is with them. Perfecting them (Matt. 5:10; Rom. 8:18; 2 Cor. 12:10).

So, the Thessalonians demonstrated that their salvation, determined by faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ, was genuine because they, like Christ, were willing to suffer because of God and His kingdom. They suffered unjustly as objects of man's wrath against Christ and His kingdom (Acts 5:41; Phil. 3:10; Col 1:24). "Kingdom of God" is used here in its spiritual sense of salvation.

Romans 8:17 "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together."

1 Peter 2:20 "For what glory [is it], if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer [for it], ye take it patiently, this [is] acceptable with God."

2 Thessalonians 1:6 "Seeing [it is] a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;"

"It is a righteous thing" refers back to the righteous judgment of God cited in the previous verse.

"God to recompense": Just as the righteous judgment of God works to perfect believers (verse 5), so it works to "repay the wicked (verse 8). Vindication and retribution are to be exercised by God, not man, in matters of spiritual persecution (Deut. 32:35; Prov. 25:21-22; Rom. 12:19-21; 1 Thess. 5:15; Rev. 19:2). When God repays and how God repays are to be determined by Him.

If these people remain patient and in the faith even when they are being persecuted; the people doing the persecuting will be punished by God.

Romans 12:20 "Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head."

God fights our battles for us. Vengeance is His, not ours. We should be kind to our enemies, as well as our friends.

2 Thessalonians 1:7 "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,"

Paul was a fellow sufferer for the just cause of Christ. He, like the Thessalonians, hoped for that ultimate rest and reward for their suffering for the kingdom that was to come when Christ returned to judge the ungodly. The Lord Jesus promised this twofold coming for rest and retribution (Matt. 13:40-43; 24:39-41; 25:31-33; Luke 21:27-28, 34-36; John 5:24-29).

"When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed": This undoubtedly refers to Christ being unveiled in His coming as Judge. The first aspect of this revealing occurs at the end of the 7 year tribulation period (Matt. 13-24-30, 36-43; 24:29-51; 25:31-46: Rev. 19:11-15).

The final and universal revelation of Christ as Judge occurs at the Great White Throne judgment following Christ's millennial reign on the earth (Rev. 20: 1215). Angels always accompany Christ in His coming for judgment (Matt. 13:41, 49; 24:3031; 25:31; Rev. 14:14-15).

 "Rest" (Greek anesis, "release" or "relaxation"): It is appropriate since Paul is encouraging them to relax and wait for the Lord's return, at which time He will judge all those who afflict His people.

"With us": Paul again uses himself as an example. He too had suffered (1 Thess. 3:3-5). Their suffering only gives them something in common with the apostle.

"The Lord Jesus shall be revealed" (literally, "at the revelation of the Lord Jesus"): Second Thessalonians primarily concerns the revelation of Christ at His second coming (Matt. 24:29-31), as distinguished from the Rapture (1 Thess. 4:13-18). The failure to recognize this distinction led to some of the problems at Thessalonica.

There is a rest for the believers. Look, with me, at what Jesus had to say about this very thing.

Matthew 11:28 "Come unto me, all [ye] that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

The rest for the Christian is in Jesus.

Hebrews 4:9 "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God." There will be no sorrow in heaven. These mighty angels that are with Him are the ministering spirits to do His commands.

At one point, they are to put in the sickle and reap the earth at His command. The Christians, themselves, will be like the angels in heaven.

2 Thessalonians 1:8 "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:"

"In flaming fire": The manifestation of the Son of Man employs this same apocalyptic imagery (Dan. 7:13; Rev. 1:13-14). Paul employs "know" in a sense similar to the Hebrew cognate. In this context, it signifies being intimately acquainted with and standing in close relation to God. Thus, it means more than just knowing someone. Fire is a symbol of judgment. God is a consuming fire.

Hebrews 12:29 "For our God [is] a consuming fire."

So many times in the Bible, God is associated with fire. John the Baptist said, that he baptized with water, but Jesus would baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire. Holy God cannot look upon sin, He will burn it up. We all know that the wheat will be gathered into the heavenly barn, and the tares will be burned. Look what Jesus said about this very thing.

Matthew 13:30 "Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn."

There are only two choices a person can make. Following Jesus brings life eternal, but to reject Jesus brings eternal damnation.

Revelation 20:15 "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."

The question is, have you received Jesus Christ as your Savior and had your name written in the Lamb's book of life? If you have not (read Revelation 20:15), one more time.

"Taking vengeance": Literally these words mean "to give full punishment" (Deut. 32:35; Isa. 59:17; 66:15; Ezek. 25:14; Rom. 12:19).

"Know not God" (1 Thess. 4:5). This speaks to the lack of a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ (John 17:3; Gal. 4:8; Eph. 2:12; 4:17-18; Titus 1:16).

Retribution is not dealt out because of persecuting Christians, but rather because they did not obey God's command to believe (Acts 17:30-31; Rom. 1:5; 10:16; 15:18; 16:19). And call upon the name of the Lord to be saved from their sin (Rom. 10:9-13; 1 Cor. 16:22; Heb. 10:26-31).

Salvation is never obtained by works but always by placing one's faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8-10).

2 Thessalonians 1:9 "Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;"

"Everlasting destruction" is not annihilation. It is a conscious, continuous expulsion from the presence of God, that is, from the place of blessing (Isa. 2:11, 17; Rev. 9:6). Literally these words mean "to give full punishment".

Paul explained the duration and extent of what is elsewhere in Scripture called "hell." First, it is forever, thus it is not a reversible experience. Second, destruction means ruin and does not involve annihilation, but rather a new state of conscious being which is significantly worse that the first (Rev. 20:14-15).

This is described as the absence of God's presence and glory (Matt. 8:12; 22:13; 25:30; Luke 16:24-26).

(1 Thessalonians 4:5), speaks to the lack of a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ (John 17:3; Gal. 4:8; Eph. 2:12; 4:17-18; Titus 1:16).

Retribution is not dealt out because of persecuting Christians, but rather because they did not obey God's command to believe (Acts 17:30-31; Rom. 1:5; 10:16; 15:18; 16:19). And call upon the name of the Lord to be saved from their sin (Rom 10:9-13; 1 Cor. 16:22; Heb. 10:26-31).

Salvation is never obtained by works but always by placing one's faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8-10).

We see that the ones to be punished are all who do not accept Jesus as their Savior. This is the separation of the sheep and the goats in the book of Matthew. The followers of Christ, of course, are his sheep. The really sad thing is that even some who proclaim Christianity will not be acceptable as we read in the following verse.

Matthew 7:22-23 "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

You see, just professing Christianity does not make you a Christian. We are Christians when we become new creatures in Christ. I will say one more time, there are only two choices. It is up to us where we spend all of eternity. We can choose Jesus and spend eternity in heaven with Him. The other choice is to reject Jesus and spend eternity in hell, totally separated from God.

Hell is not only a fire, but a terrible darkness. One of the torments of hell is the fact that the lost will not be able to see the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 1:10 "When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day."

"When he shall come": When the Day of the Lord arrives bringing retribution and ruin for unbelievers. As Christ's great glory is displayed the result will be rest and relief for believers and the privilege of sharing His glory (Phil. 3:21; 1 John 3:2).

This is the glorious manifestation of believers of which Paul spoke (Rom. 8:18-19). At the time, all believers will adore and worship Him, including those in the Thessalonian church who believed Paul's testimony of the gospel.

The punishment, spoken of in the previous verses, will happen when the things spoken (in verse 10 above), occur. Paul is saying, because his testimony was believed when he preached to them, they would grow in the Lord until He comes.

We know that the Lord is glorified in the saints, when they become so full of Him that the world looking on sees Jesus in them. This brings glory and honor to the Father and Jesus. We Christians in the day of the Lord, will be clothed in white linen washed in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. We will have taken on His righteousness.

We have been made acceptable in the Fathers sight through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. In my opinion, admired is not strong enough for the feeling we have. The feeling is great admiration and love for what Jesus did for us, but even more for who He is to us.

2 Thessalonians 1:11 "Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of [this] calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of [his] goodness, and the work of faith with power:"

"We pray always": Paul's prayer life is exemplified 4 times in this letter (verse 12, 2:16-17; 3:1-5, 16).

Here he prayed as he did (in verse 5), that they might behave in ways consistent with their identity as Christians (1 Thess. 2:19; Eph. 4:1; Col. 1:10). Living up to their calling to salvation (Romans 8:30; 11:29; Gal. 4:13-15; 1 Cor. 1:26; Col. 1:3-5; 1 Thess. 2:12), with lives marked by goodness and powerful works of faith.

For Christ to be glorified in us, we must grow in him to the extent that we will be a reflection of the Lord Jesus. Many are called, but few are chosen. Paul is not speaking just to the heads of the churches here, but to all who have been called of God to be Christians. Every Christian is a minister for Christ.

Paul prays that they will live the salvation they have received. It appears that Paul is trying to convey to them the necessity to walk uprightly before the Lord. The very life we live is a sermon to the world around us. We either draw people closer to God with our walk, or we drive them further away.

This prayer of Paul's is speaking of their walk, more than just a one-time conversion. The constant faith we have in Him causes us to turn our will over to His will. The power to minister comes from the Holy Spirit within us. Jesus told the disciples that they would receive power after the Holy Ghost had come upon them.

Look with me, at the power He gave them, and what it was to be used for. This is in the Words of Jesus.

Acts 1:8 "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

2 Thessalonians 1:12 "That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."

The worthy walk (of verse 11), allows God to be glorified in us, the light of all purposes (2:14; 1 Cor. 10:31; 1 Peter 4:11).



2 Thess. 2:1-12 - Richison Commentary

v. 1: "Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:"

We come now to Paul's shortest epistle.

The first two verses make up the salutation. This greeting is essentially the same as in First Thessalonians.

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,  - These are the same three names found in 1 Thessalonians 1:1. This was an effective and powerful team, as we saw in our study of First Thessalonians. Paul, a leader, scholar, and writer, determined to spread the gospel throughout the Roman world.

Silvanus, a Hellenistic Jew, held a prominent part of the Council at Jerusalem. The Council asked him to accompany Paul and Barnabas to Antioch to strengthen the church there. He also joined Paul on his second missionary expedition. He facilitated both Paul and Peter in the writing and delivery of their epistles.

Timothy was a vest-pocket edition of the apostle Paul and Paul's son in the faith. His father was a Gentile, and his mother, a Jew. Timothy was a pastor and a troubleshooter for Paul.

To the church of the Thessalonians - Churches in the New Testament often named their churches based on the city or province where they were located (1 Corinthians 16:1; 2 Corinthians 8:1; Galatians 1:22). Paul maintained care for the Thessalonians. He did not "love 'em and leave 'em." People that we influence for the Lord require our maintenance. Everyone goes through development aches and pains. Perfection is progressive, not instant.

in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: - The church at Thessalonica was in "God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." The church had its origin in a source, the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The reason that church existed was due to the ministry of the Father and Son. The Father had a mission for the Son. The Son fulfilled that mission. The church at Thessalonica was a result. God has a plan for every church.

Principle:  Our church is not ours but God's.

Application:  Your church belongs to God, the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of this, we are under divine surveillance. We must remember that our church is not ours. When tempted to cause a problem in our church, we need to keep in mind that God keeps surveillance on it. We must keep that in mind when we want to give someone a piece of our mind. Our church is the church of God, the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, not ours.

v. 2: "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ"

Now we come to Paul's standard "Hello" in his epistles: "grace and peace.

"Grace to you - Grace is God's provision for the believer without any strings attached. God's provision comes from two persons of the Trinity, the Father, and Son.

and peace - Peace also comes from those same two persons of the Trinity. A person with peace is a person with a settled soul. This settled soul comes from God's grace. Grace always precedes peace.

from - The word "from" indicates the source of "grace" and "peace."

God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ - Paul repeats the words "God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." This says something about our strength as believers; grace and peace come from a co-fountain. We have a dynamic duo as a supernatural resource for strength.  Note the emphasis on the lordship of Christ in His role as the source for our strength.

Principle:  God sustains believers with no strings attached.

Application:  Although we may feel that we do not deserve God's sustaining grace, God gives it anyway. Although we do not feel deserving of peace, God gives it to us because of His grace, that is, His provision for those He loves. We cannot pay for our sins as believers because Christ did all the suffering that was necessary for those sins. We rest on His grace. God does not need our help.

A believer cannot function efficiently without God's grace and peace. Many of us operate on personal drive, not on grace. That is a good way to head into a spiritual shipwreck. We cannot operate without God's grace any more than a plane can fly without fuel. God's grace is our spiritual fuel for flying in the Christian life.

A Christian who rests on God's grace has a settled soul and can sit down on the inside. He knows that God provides for any situation. He has a clear mind in any problem. Is something consuming you? If you keep your mind on the Lord, He will give you composure in the middle of your commotion.  "You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You" (Isaiah 26:3).

v. 3: "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other..."

Now we turn to the commendation section of 2nd Thessalonians (1:3-12). If Paul could find a reason to thank God for a local church, he always did. He even brought himself to thank God for the carnal Corinthian church. He could not bring himself to thank God for the Galatians, however, because they defected from the principle of the finished work of Christ.

We are bound to thank God - The word "bound" means to owe. This is a word of debt or obligation. Paul owes God a debt of thanks for the Thessalonians. He views thanks as a duty because he prayed that the Thessalonians might "increase and abound in love." God heard his prayers, so he owes God his thanks. This is the subjective side of thanksgiving to God. Paul's team sensed a principled obligation to give thanks.

always - Paul and his team carried a constant sense of thanksgiving to God for the Thessalonians. He found many occasions whereby he could thank God for them.

for you, brethren, - Paul was grateful, not just in some general fashion, but for two very specific things about the Thessalonians: 1) their increasing faith toward God and 2) their expanding love for fellow Christians. In the next verse, he boasts to other churches about other dynamics in the Thessalonian church.

Principle:  Churches have reputations just like individual Christians.

Application:  Every church has a name, just as every Christian has a name. Each church has a testimony. Some churches have little reputation in the non-Christian community. Some have little reputation with the Christian community. What kind of testimony does your church have?

Thanksgiving relates to our capacity of soul. The greater our appreciation for what God is doing in those to whom we minister, the more it is fitting or appropriate to give God thanks. We cannot gain God's approval so that He will do something through us. We acknowledge that what He does, He does through His grace. A thankful heart just responds to God's grace. God is not impressed with who we are or what we do. He is impressed with who Jesus is and what He did. A sense of what God does through His grace is always the basis for our thanks.

v. 3b: as it is fitting, - The word "fitting" carries the ideas of weight, value, worth, befitting, becoming, right on the ground of fitness. Thanking God for fellow believers weighs something. It has some worth; therefore, it is "fitting" or right that one gives thanks. This is proper in correspondence to what God expects. This is the objective side of thanksgiving to God because it responds to God's concrete answer to prayer. This is thanksgiving based on facts, not potential. The gospel team never took for granted God's work in the lives of the people to whom they ministered. They did not attribute change in the lives of the Thessalonians to themselves.

Principle: Giving God thanks for fellow Christians amounts to something.

Application:  Are you "bound" to thank God for what God is doing through you? Are you compelled to launch from your soul appreciation to God for what He is doing?  Some Christians respond to the exposition of the Word. They live out the principles of God's Word. They apply it to their lives. They share their faith with believers and unbelievers alike. We cannot help but give God thanks for these churches. Some people respond to God, and others do not.

v. 3c: your faith grows exceedingly, - The words "grows exceedingly" comes from two words: to increase or grow and beyond measure. This is the only time this word occurs in the New Testament. Our faith can grow internally, as the organic growth of a tree. It also can grow exceedingly. Not only had their faith grown, but it flourished. Our faith should never level off at some plateau and become stationary. Our faith is never static; it either grows or shrinks in size. It never remains the same.

Principle:  The faith of some Christians grows much faster than the faith of others.

Application:  There are two aspects to our faith: 1) saving faith, 2) dynamic or forceful faith. Each Christian is has saving faith but not every Christian radiates forceful faith.  The amount of faith differs with each believer. Every Christian has the same quality of saving faith but not the same quantity of dynamic faith. The faith of some Christians is the same as when they became Christians. They have not grown in their faith at all. There are little development and modest progress in their faith.  The more we understand the principles of God's Word and apply them to our experience, the greater our faith grows. We should increase our spiritual capacity like we increase our mental capacity. Faith is like a muscle. The more we exercise it the more it develops. If we neglect our faith, it will atrophy and get weaker.

v. 3d: and the love of every one of you all - The Thessalonians' faith in God grew and their love for each other expanded as well. These are the two levels of growth. Note the word "every," and the word "all." There were no exceptions in the Thessalonian church when it came to abounding love toward one another. They all loved each other.

abounds toward each other - The word "abounds" is more (in quantity). Sometimes this word has the idea of "superabundantly." When it comes to loving one another, we should have it in superabundance. We should not put bounds around it. We break the bounds when it comes to love. Not only did the Thessalonians' faith grow but also their love grew in quantity.

When we increase the extent of our love to the point of abundance, it will create a momentum of love among the community of believers.

Principle:  Biblical love for one another can grow so that we will love everyone in our local church.

Application:  Could you classify yourself as a model of someone who loves people in your church superabundantly? How would you stand up to that standard? All of us can love the lovely. Few of us love the unlovely. It is easy to love the people we like but not very easy to love the people we dislike.  It isn't easy to love those who do not treat us fairly. That should not concern us. That is their responsibility. Our responsibility is to love them. We cannot force people to love us. God does not obligate us to make others love us, but He does require us to love them.  It is one thing to develop our faith, and it's another thing to develop our love for others. Some people have strong faith but weak love. Others have strong love but weak faith. God expects us to reach a point of strong faith and strong love.

v. 4: " that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure..."

so that - Because of the Thessalonian's two abounding earmarks of faith and love (1:3), Paul boasts of them to other churches. "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:24-25).

Principle: It is legitimate to use other churches as our model for building a local church.

Application:  It is legitimate to use other churches as models for your church. This is the New Testament truth. First, Paul used the Macedonians as a model to the Corinthians, and then he used the Corinthians as an example to the Macedonians.

we ourselves - The words "we ourselves" are emphatic in Greek.  Not only had the gospel team heard from others about the faith of the Thessalonians to the north, but they observed it plainly themselves, so they spread the news to the churches in the Corinth area.  This praise was not superficial praise for appearances. 

boast of you - The word "boast" means to express an unusually high degree of confidence in someone for being exceptionally noteworthy.  Boasting is not wrong, but boasting becomes wrong, depending on the content of our boast.  Paul did not flatter the Thessalonians, but he did commend them for their faith (1 Th 1:8).  He gave no inference that they were exceptional because of his ministry.  His praise was to the glory of God's grace in them.  This was not arrogance but the simple recognition of God's work in their lives. 

among the churches of God - Paul spoke with permissible pride to other churches about the Thessalonians.  He used the Thessalonians as a model church that exercised faith and love in the midst of adversity.  Christians either hang together or split up under pressure.  Trouble will not allow us to be neutral toward fellow Christians.  Persecution can drive Christians into each other's arms, or it can drive them apart. 

for your patience - The Thessalonians faced persecution with two traits: patience and faith.  The word "patience" carries the idea of perseverance, endurance (1 Th 1:3; 2 Th 3:5).  They did not cut and run but faced their persecution with Christian character.  The Thessalonians knew something about steadfastness in tribulation.  Tribulation did not sweep them away.  They stuck with it and did not quit. 

PRINCIPLE:  Dog-like tenacity of Christian character keeps us from losing heart in Christian service. 

APPLICATION:  It does not take much to discourage some of us.  God gives us a ministry, and then we immediately faint at the first bite of criticism, the first reversal or obstacle.  God sovereignly places reverses and obstacles in our path to test our character.  Anyone can do ministry when everything goes well.  Reversal toughens our soul so that we can withstand the ruthless realities of life. 

v. 4c: and faith - There is no definite article before the word "faith" in the Greek indicating quality of faith. The Thessalonian faith was no dead creed but a living dynamic whereby they applied the reality of Christianity to their experience.

Principle: Quality of faith depends on our understanding and appropriation of God's providence.

Application:  We do not need a lot of faith when things are going well. When our health is good, we have a regular income, and our family is fine, who needs God? "I can make it on my own. Everything is coming up roses. The road is smooth and straight." However, when everything comes up lemons, we need to exercise a rest in God's providence. Our faith needs to grow when nothing goes right.  When God increases trouble in our lives, we need to increase our faith in His sovereign power.

The growth of our faith should increase in two categories: persecutions and tribulations.

4d1 - in all your persecutions and tribulations - The word "persecution" means to systematically organize a program to oppress and harass people by religion. This is an affliction from without the church.  "Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles" (Acts 8:1).  "Tribulations" means pressures of any kind. The new believers in Thessalonica underwent severe as well as slight suffering. Trouble comes in all shapes and sizes, both large and small. God frees none of us from trouble. Some of our troubles are small compared to others. Some of us have trouble with our husbands or wives. Some have pressures with their children. The doctor informs us that we have cancer. Some turn to alcohol. Others turn to God.  Notice that big little word, "all." God does not ask us to exercise our faith in most persecutions and tribulations but in "all" of them.

4d2 - that you endure - "Endure" signifies to hold up against a thing and so to bear with again and again. Literally, it means to hold up repeatedly. They held up under persecution over and over. This is not a matter of gritting our teeth and toughing it out but a matter of orienting ourselves to God's sovereignty in our situation. A believer who understands God's providence in everything is a person who can tackle any problem. He can hang in there because he knows God processes everything that comes into his life.

Principle:  God carefully designs adversity and prosperity so that we will become the kind of people He wants us to be.

Application:  There is one thing that we can count on: our circumstances will change. None of us can get through life with hostile humanity without trouble.  There will come a day when we will face adversity. Life never remains the same. God does not guarantee that our circumstances will remain the same. There will be times of prosperity and times of adversity. God designs a certain amount of adversity and a certain amount of prosperity for every believer. He knows our tolerances. He wants to test us to see what kind of character we have.  Two character qualities are crucial when we enter into duress. 1) We need to develop a tough attitude, and 2) we should extend our love to fellow Christians. When we develop these qualities, we do not feel sorry for ourselves or enter into a pity party.

v. 5: "which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer..."

which is manifest evidence - The Thessalonian's faith and patience under pressure were plainly evident for everyone to see. There was plenty of evidence to give plain proof of their dynamic faith. The Thessalonians suffered for Christ's kingdom by courageous faith is proof of the reality of their salvation.

of the righteous judgment of God, - At first appearance, the Thessalonians' suffering seemed unjust, yet their dynamic faith demonstrated very clearly that God is righteous in His dealings with them.  God is righteous in His judgments. He will justly deal with the injustices against the Thessalonians in His future judgment, although He might refrain from judgment for the present." Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Genesis 18:25).

Principle:  How mature believers react to affliction is an obvious sign of God's righteous judgment in their lives.

Application:  In righteousness, God designed affliction to come our way. He judges us worthy for this. He metes out a certain measure of suffering designed especially for us. He is too wise to do wrong or to make a mistake in this. He knows our tolerances. He never allows suffering to come without rhyme or reason.  God's character is always 100% consistent. He never compromises his justice. Because of the death of Jesus on the cross, God is now free to deal with us fairly and still keep His character intact. There is a danger in the assumption that God can overlook His righteousness to love His creatures. If God did this, then He would not be consistent with His own attributes.  God also has the good sense to know the tolerances of suffering we can endure. He knows when to prosper us and when to send adversity. He mixes both blessing and hardship in proper proportions. God's central interest is what happens to our soul in suffering. When our interest is the suffering itself, we miss the point that God tests our caliber of our souls. God tests the edification of our souls in suffering. If we have not grown sufficiently, then He introduces more pain into our lives so that we can appropriate His promises. What is your capacity of soul?

that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, - Paul's team judged the Thessalonians worthy of the kingdom of God in the light of their faithfulness to God in their suffering. In comparison to other churches, the team regarded them as worthy of the kingdom. Endurance of trial does not make the believer worthy of heaven, but it does demonstrate the worthiness of one who will rule with Christ in His kingdom (Revelation 3:21; 2:26). God makes us worthy of His kingdom by His grace. God's kingdom is His sovereign rule over all creation.

for which you also suffer - The word "for" means on behalf of. The Thessalonians suffered on behalf of God's kingdom.   "For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me" (Philippians 1:29-30).

Principle:  Children of the King should live worthy of His kingdom.

Application:  God reveals that we are worthy of His kingdom by allowing us to suffer. God is righteous in

sovereignly arranging affliction for our lives.  Those who react to suffering negatively do not meet God's test. God's test in suffering is to demonstrate His grace for any disaster that may come our way. There will be no opportunity for this in eternity. Time is the only occasion where we can show God's grace in suffering.  Those who suffer in a godly manner demonstrate confidence in God's sustaining grace for that suffering. Adversity can turn into blessing. No athlete develops muscles without putting his or her body through some suffering!  Adversity makes prosperity more wonderful. Christians who suffer in a godly manner demonstrate God's provisions for inner strength.

v. 6: "...since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you..."

Verse 4 explains that persecution and tribulation were obvious signs of God's righteous judgment. God righteously measures out to each believer a certain amount of affliction while we are here on earth in time, but it will get better by and by. The best is yet ahead for the believer.  "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).  The worst is yet ahead for the non-believer. Paul assures the Thessalonians that God will persecute the persecutors (1:6-10). God shows the features of His future justice for both the Christian and the non-Christian. Paul begins with God dealing with the non-Christian in this verse.

since - The word "since" means if indeed. The word "since" defends God's righteous judgment (1:5) because it assumes as true that God will make things right.

it is a righteous thing with God - We can translate the word "righteous" by the word just. God's absolute righteousness demands justice. He can be nothing but fair and equitable, so He will settle the score with those who persecute the saints.

to repay with tribulation - The word "repay" carries the idea of recompense, give back as an equivalent, pay back in kind. God will give back to the persecutors of the Thessalonians the same kind of treatment they gave in return. They get correspondent treatment or retribution for the persecution of the saints. Because God is righteous, He incurs an obligation to do this. His retribution is not a matter of personal vengeance but justice. This is future retribution whereby God will deal with those who persecuted the saints.

those who trouble you - The Thessalonian persecution proves a coming judgment on the persecutors. God will requite them for their wrongs. God afflicts the afflicters.  "Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord" (Romans 12:19).

Principle:  What goes around will come around.

Application:  God is absolutely righteous. He cannot be anything otherwise. Because of this, He always deals justly. He cannot be anything other than just. The seeming prosperity of the wicked will end at the final judgment. God has not yet avenged the wicked. God would be unjust if there were no deferred judgment. Christians should expect trouble in this life because we march to a different drumbeat - the drumbeat of Jesus Christ. Christians should not be surprised that they face trouble from those without Christ because people do not like Jesus to show them up for what they are.

v. 7: "...and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels..."

Verse 6 deals with God's justice in retribution against those who persecute the church. This verse shows God's justice for the believer.

and to give you who are troubled rest  - God will give the believer "rest." "Rest" means to let loose, relax. This is rest from tribulation, trouble, and strain, not from work (2 Corinthians 2:13; 7:5; 8:13).  The Thessalonians do not rest in death here. No, the rest is the Second Coming. If they look forward to the Second Coming, then they will have a sense of perspective. Although the Second Coming did not occur in their lifetime, it was their hope.

with us - Paul, Silas, and Timothy, as well as the Thessalonians, will receive relief and rest at the coming of Christ

when the Lord Jesus is revealed - The "Lord Jesus" will vindicate persecuted Christians at His coming. We will clearly see the justice of God then. This is the climax of God's dealings with men. Jesus will judge the nations of the world and then establish His rule over the world. The entire world will see the manifestation of His Second Coming. Everyone will watch His coronation as King Jesus, King of the World.  There are far more Scriptures dealing with the Second Coming of Christ than His first coming. We cannot understand the import of His Second Coming without first grasping the significance of His first coming.

from heaven - The Lord Jesus is in heaven now. He went there from the Mount of Olives, and He will return to the Mount of Olives in His Second Coming (Acts 1:11).

with His mighty angels - "Mighty angels" will accompany Jesus in His Second Coming. Powerful angels will come with Him to execute justice on earth (Matthew 25:31). The entire world will see this event. It will be dramatic. Imagine what all the skeptics will think!  Christians will also come with Christ in the Second Coming because they were raptured seven years before.  "When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory" (Colossians 3:4).  "Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, 'Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him'" (Jude 14-15 ).

Principle:  We will receive justice at the Second Coming of Christ.

Application:  Jesus, to this point, has not reigned one minute over the world in His humanity. One day He will. When He does, He will bring justice to the world.  God will one day reward us for all the tribulations we face on this earth. This is consistent with God's justice. One day the entire power alignment of the world will change. At present, the rulers of this world are in power. On the day of the coming of Christ, Jesus will be King Jesus, King of the World.

v. 8: " flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ"

in flaming fire - Paul describes the eternal judgment on those without Christ as a judgment of "in fire of flame."

taking vengeance - Biblical vengeance punishes people based on what they rightly deserve. God gives justice to persecuted Christians by inflicting harm on their enemies. It is not a matter of emotional retaliation or revenge out of a sense of personal rejection, but a matter of justice.

on those who do not know God, - God will take vengeance on two groups of people: 1) those who do not know God, and 2) those who do not obey the gospel. There is no freedom from guilt by ignorance (Romans 1:18-21, 28-30). There is culpability because God revealed Himself to them in nature.

And on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ - There is a greater onus on this second group because they understood the implications of the gospel clearly. Clearly exposed to the light of revelation, they rebelled against it (John 3:19). They heard the gospel and rejected it.

There are many people, even in evangelical churches, who have heard the gospel but rejected it. This phrase refers to them as well as others who have had wide exposure to the gospel.

Principle:  God always executes punishment with justice.

Application:  None of us likes to think about eternal retribution. We are like children who do not want to face the cost of our choices. Those who reject Christ will not be able to use a rationalization about hell as an excuse for rejecting Him.  "For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (1 Peter 4:17). 

v. 9: "These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power..."

 These - The word "these" is qualitative, emphasizing the class of those described in verse 8.

shall be punished - The word punished means to pay a price (by way of return), to pay a penalty. God will repay the persecutors of the church at Thessalonica by giving them "eternal destruction" in return for rejecting the gospel and persecuting the messengers of the gospel. They will not escape God's retribution.

with everlasting destruction - "Destruction" means ruin, death. Because some evangelicals today reject the idea of eternal punishment, we need to study this word more extensively. Some say that "destruction" means annihilation. This word does not imply annihilation or temporary retribution.  The New Testament uses this word of physical death for a believer out of fellowship (1 Corinthians 5:5). Because this person did not repent of living in adultery with his stepmother, Paul gave him over to Satan "for the destruction of his flesh [his physical body] that his spirit may be saved in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ."  The use of "everlasting" here shows that God's judgment is final with no appeal (Hebrews 6:2) and is "unquenchable" (Mark 9:43). This is not remedial but retributive justice. It is not a temporary but final judgment. It is of an unlimited duration of time-eternal, as God's eternal power and divine nature are "everlasting" (Romans 1:20; 16:26).   "Everlasting destruction" ultimately means that those without Christ will lose everything that gives worth to our existence. We see that worth in the next two clauses.

Principle:  Non-Christians incur eternal destruction because of God's justice.

Application:  God is always consistent with Himself. He always uses proper legal procedure in passing out judgment.  The idea that there is no everlasting hell attracts men. They love the idea that God annihilates those without Christ from conscious existence because they would not have to face their liability before Him. Men are not like horses that blackout when they die. People go on forever.  The essence behind the idea of hell in the Bible is justice. God is not capricious or cruel. He must be consistent with Himself. He must be true to Himself. If He bends the policy (steps outside His character), He would no longer be consistent with Himself. If He were no longer consistent with Himself, He would no longer be absolute. If He were no longer absolute, He could not be the supreme God of the universe. He would be a fractured being that we could not trust.  Hell is a place we choose. If we choose to reject God's plan of salvation in Christ, then we make ourselves sovereign. We think we know what is the best way for the universe to operate. The outcome of this is eternal destruction.

9b1:  from the presence of the Lord - We can see the nature of "everlasting destruction" in two "from" clauses. First, everlasting destruction is "from the presence of the Lord." The word "presence" means face. Those who reject Christ will have no fellowship with God for eternity. They will not meet Him in a personal relationship. God will drive them far from His presence, the true life of His presence, life as it should be lived. Life wholly devoid of God Himself is life without significance.

9b2: and from the glory of His power - The second limitation in everlasting destruction is separation from the majesty of God's visible splendor and power, His majesty. "Power" here denotes ability, force, strength. This is a strength afforded by power. In this verse, "power" indicates strength afforded by power. God's power has a "glory." The "glory" of His power signifies the visible expression of Jesus' inherent personal power. Jesus has the exceptional ability to do what He has to do. He has the special personal ability to be the source for true, eternal, quality life. When we separate ourselves from Him, we cannot have the quality of life God wants us to have. Jesus has not yet manifested His power on earth. He has yet to do that. His glorious power will set things right. He will set up a worldwide kingdom where He will put everything right. His new administration will execute justice as never before in history. He will judge sin instantly by His omniscience. He will not allow judges to miscarry justice. No Philadelphia lawyer will spin things into some convoluted meaning. He will turn no criminal loose to perpetrate his crimes on others again.

Principle:  God will separate non-Christians eternally from the essence of His presence, the quality of the life of God.

Application:  It is difficult for fallen man to see the significance of losing fellowship with God because He knows nothing of it. The fall of man alienated him from that understanding. His only hope is to trust Christ's death for his sin and thus receive reconciliation to God's assessment of life.  God will banish those who reject Christ from His presence and majesty. They will forever lose the opportunity to connect to what gives meaning to life. This is their eternal fate.

v. 10: "...when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed"

Verse 9 declared that Jesus' power will be put on display by His presence.

when He comes, - The time when Jesus will recompense believers will be at His Second Coming. The word "when" is indefinite, for we do not know the exact time of this coming.

in that Day, - This coming of the Lord Jesus is the Second Coming, not the Rapture. At this coming, He will fight the battle of Armageddon and then establish His Kingdom on earth for 1000 years (Revelation 19:11-20:4). He will establish justice for the saints then.

to be glorified in His saints - Jesus will be glorified in, not by, the saints. The saints will mirror Jesus on that day. When Jesus comes, He will be the object of great honor because He transformed the lives of His saints. Worldwide glory for Christ is the ultimate purpose of creation. He will rule for 1000 years, and then He will deliver up the Kingdom to the Father so that God may be all in all (1 Corinthians 15:24). He will establish permanent glory for the Father. God's purpose for our lives is to glorify Christ.  Jesus will be honored in the saints and "admired" by all those who believe. The word "admired" signifies to wonder at, marvel. They will be astonished at who He truly is and that He made good on all His promises. Believers will marvel at His Kingdom.

because our testimony among you was believed - The Thessalonians will participate in the glory of the Second Coming because they believed the gospel. We will not share in this because of our morality but because of the work of Christ on the cross. Christians have a marvelous future because we believed in the gospel.

Principle:  Jesus is the celebrity for the Christian.

Application:  The white heat of God's presence will blow away pretense. No superficiality will stand in God's presence. When Jesus comes, we will see the wonder of what He did very clearly. He accrued all of the merit we need for eternity. We could do nothing to gain or earn salvation. He sustains us on earth so that He will receive the glory for that as well. He will overcome the problems of the world by setting up His Kingdom. We will greatly admire His wonderful person and work!

v. 11: "Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power..."

Paul now begins a prayer that the Thessalonians would develop certain qualities consistent with their calling.

Therefore - The "therefore" reaches back to the previous verse. Since the Christian is to reflect Christ's glory and admire his Savior, Paul prays that the Thessalonians would prepare themselves so that their lives would harmonize with the Lord's character.

we also pray - The thought of the Second Coming of Christ spurs Paul to pray for the Thessalonians in their present spiritual condition so that they may have a testimony of life at the Second Coming.

always - The word "always" occurs in Paul's prayer in 1:3. Paul put great and persistent effort into prayer.  "Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church" (Acts 12:5).

for you - Praying for others is intercessory prayer. Many of us pray for me and mine. We spend little time in prayer for others. We are quick to pray for our immediate family but slow to pray for someone else's family.

Principle:  We cannot pretend in prayer because God's presence exposes superficiality in our hearts.

Application:  Christians should be at their best when they are in prayer. When we enter prayer, we enter the presence of God. We cannot pretend in God's presence. He sees our hearts. He is the only being who fully knows our hearts. He exposes all the hypocrisy of our hearts.It is wonderful to know that we can count on certain people to pray for us in times of trouble. United intercessory prayer is even more powerful. When people mix their prayers, something more powerful comes from their prayers. Something more happens when people pray together.

Paul prays for four things for the Thessalonians. First, he prays about their walk in relationship to their calling.

that our God would count you worthy of this calling, - The words "count worthy" mean deem it suitable. Paul prays that God would find of the Thessalonians worthy so that He would look on them favorably.  This word does not mean make you worthy. It is a causative word in Greek. God is the cause of worthiness, not us.  The Christian's walk should suit his salvation. The Christian is headed for heaven. The best is yet ahead, but his present life should reflect his future life.

Principle:  We should live Christian lives in keeping with our eternal destiny.

Application:  No Christian is worthy of salvation, but we can live lives consistent with our eternal future.

Paul's second petition was that God would enable the Thessalonians to fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness.

and fulfill - God wants to "fulfill" something in us. He wants to do it to the full. He will complete the job. He will do the most for you, not the least. He wants the best for us, not the worse.

all the good pleasure of His goodness - The Holy Spirit here declares that, through him, the Thessalonians would bring "the good pleasure of goodness" to fruition in their lives. "Goodness" is more than kindness, for it can include stern qualities (Matthew 21:12,13; 23:13-29). In every case, it includes the idea of giving or generosity. This is a quality of a person filled with the Spirit.  All goodness in us comes from God's grace, not from self. "Good pleasure" means a good desire. Paul prays that their will would line up with their calling.

Principle:  The spirit of generosity comes from the filling of the Holy Spirit.

Application:  Do you want to fulfill the purpose God has for you? Do you want to be so given to God that you will do anything that He asks? God wants our best. Our best can only come from the filling of the Holy Spirit. God will work in your life if you act in His power, allowing His Spirit to work.

The third thing Paul prays is that the Thessalonians will work their faith with power.

and the work of faith with power - Faith carries power. Do we do the pleasure of God's will by faith with power? We cannot live a life of faith without God's power. We will never reach the potential of our faith without that power.

Principle:  Christians should walk worthy of their "work of faith with power."

Application:  We engage God by faith. When we do that, we receive a power that is not our own. Sin tugs at our souls. We cannot live the Christian life by logic or reason. We must draw on the resources of God. That brings power.

v. 12: "...that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ"

We come to the fourth and final petition that Paul prays for the Thessalonians.

that - The word "that" is a conjunction expressing purpose. The purpose of Paul's prayer is that the Thessalonians will glorify the name of Jesus with a testimony for Him on earth.

the name of our Lord Jesus Christ - The word "name" here stands for all that the name of Jesus implies: character, majesty, power, excellence. It is all that He is in His person and work, His renown.

may be glorified - The ultimate purpose for each Christian is to glorify the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Christians should yield everything in their life toward this end, even their own happiness.

in you, - We glorify the Lord Jesus in our person and work. If we build our spirits with the edification that comes from applying the principles of God's Word to experience, there is a capacity in us that can glorify Christ.

and you in Him, - If we glorify Christ with our lives, the Lord Jesus Christ will give us glory. When the world recognizes the manifest glory of Christ as the God-man at the Second Coming, we will receive glory in association with Him. There is a glory in becoming a Christian and walking the Christian life.

according to - The words "according to" mean according to the norm and standard of. Grace is our standard for glorifying the Lord Jesus. We glorify Him by who He is and what He did. We do not glorify Him by who we are and what we do, by merit.  However, our works can glorify Him, but even these works come from God's grace. It is only because God accomplished something in us, do others glorify God in us.

the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ - One definite article precedes both "God" and "Lord Jesus Christ," implying that grace comes from both in inseparable unity. No action of ourselves will bring glory to Christ. It is only by the grace of God that we can glorify God. We can trace answered prayer back to God's grace.

Principle:  God's ultimate purpose for every Christian is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.

Application:  The ultimate purpose for every Christian is to hold high the glory of Jesus Christ. If we tell the world about the person and work of the Lord Jesus, we hold Him in high honor. Christians will be held in high honor as well because their holy life glorifies the Savior. The Christian holds Christ in high honor only by grace