2 Thessalonians 1 (NIV)
In this second letter to the church in Thessalonica, you will see that Paul repeats some of the same things he said in the last letter. He understood the importance of hearing and hearing and hearing the word of God. Sometimes we don’t truly grasp the full meaning the first time we read it and when we read it again, we find that we missed some of the important things in the scripture. It is also important not to add or remove anything in the scriptures to suit our selfish desires. Paul was careful to always be the same in his teachings, preferring that the Christians know Christ to the fullest rather than gather people to himself with fancy words.
1 Paul, Silas[a] and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving and Prayer
3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters,[b] and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. 4 Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.
Notice that although Paul is praising them and commending them for their faith – he gives thanks to God for them and for their faith. He rejoices in God and the blessing he receives from God through their service. Although he is proud of them, he doesn’t lift up their egos, he gives glory to the Lord instead. This is important, because he mentions that he is boasting of them to other churches and we could misunderstand that he is glorifying their earthly nature. But he is not – he is boasting of God in them and how God has strengthened them to withstand the trials and persecutions.
5 All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
He encourages them here, knowing what suffering they endure. He assures them that they will be rewarded by God, not by man. He goes further to remind them that those who persecute them will be punished by the same God that will reward them. Keep in mind that the trials they endured were directly related to the word they preached and taught. This was not the trials we face that we blame on the enemy. Many of the things we go through are just life raining on the just and the unjust. We blame the enemy for anything and everything that happens to us – and sometimes the things that happen are only a result of our poor decisions and actions. These Christians were truly being persecuted for a Godly reason – they had reason to be discouraged and beaten down, yet they only became stronger in faith. These were not only the true definition of a Christian (little Christ), but they were growing as well. Each trial made them stronger rather than weaker. This is how it should be with us. Every thing that comes against us should be viewed as an opportunity to grow in faith and love. The things we bring upon ourselves should be viewed as opportunities, to learn from our mistakes and grow stronger and more mature in the Lord.
11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 12 We pray this so 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.[c]
Paul always prayed for more strength to be given to them. We never stop growing. There is never a time where we have enough of God, enough faith, enough love. There is always an opportunity to continue to grow. When we fail to grow, we become complacent and lazy. We begin to forget the things we’ve learned and fall back into our old human nature and habits. That is why Paul is always calling us to persevere, press on, continue to run the race. Many times the tense of his words in the Greek are ongoing. For instance – he doesn’t tell us to pray, he tells us to pray continually – to never stop. Paul tells them that their desire for goodness and their deeds inspired by faith will bring glory to God, which is their ultimate goal (and Paul’s as well).
2 Thessalonians 1:1 Greek Silvanus, a variant of Silas
2 Thessalonians 1:3 The Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family; also in 2:1, 13, 15; 3:1, 6, 13.
2 Thessalonians 1:12 Or God and Lord, Jesus Christ