In 2 Thessalonians 2.13-17 Paul is praising God in prayer for the Thessalonians because they are saved (vv.13-14). He’s saying look, because of this, because you’re chosen and saved, stand firm and hold on (v.15). Now he closes his prayer with a prayer, let’s read vv.16-17:
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good thing you do or say.
Paul is praying that our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father, who loved us and by grace gave, past tense, eternal comfort and good hope will now encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good thing you do or say. The eternal comfort and good hope have already been given, now Paul is praying for encouragement and strength as the believers move forward. He writes that God will encourage and strengthen them in, literally, every good work and word. What you do and what you say matters.
In this passage he’s saying we’re so thankful to God that He has chosen you for salvation and sanctification, and because of this we pray that you will take it seriously and join in, get involved, be active, stand firm, and hold on. We pray that you’ll be encouraged and strengthened in every good thing you do or say, all your work and words, your standing firm and your holding on.
What a privilege for you and for me.
God who made heaven and earth has chosen you for salvation, through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.
What a privilege for you and for me that this will ultimately lead to us possessing the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Who is the beginning and end of the reason why and how we are able to be sanctified,
who is the object of the faith we have that saves us by grace,
who is the bridge and branch between us in our fallen, sinful state and an altogether holy and righteous God,
who is the method of forgiveness of our sins, and
is how we are able to approach God in prayer.
Because of all of this, we’re called to stand firm and hold on. As Paul has done here, as Paul has encouraged the Thessalonians to do, the uncommon sense in the midst of whatever you are going through right now is to pause and pray.
Stop, pause, and pray. Don’t work harder to try and change your circumstances. Pray harder that God would change you through your circumstances.
One of our elders said to me this week that even if we’re not going through something particularly challenging yourself right now, we all know someone who is. How true is that. Even if the last twelve months have not impacted you too much, you most likely know someone who has lost a job, lost a loved one, moved away, had a pay cut, had to postpone or cancel plans, missed out on time with loved ones. Pause and pray for them.
Show some uncommon sense and pause and pray and remember that God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation and sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.
Show some uncommon sense and hold on to the traditions that you are being taught here, the full counsel of Scripture, the good news of Jesus, the Gospel, whether you gather with us and hear it on Friday, whether you listen to our midweek, whether you read it daily, whether you sharpen others with it during the week in a smaller group, whether by speech or letter, show some uncommon sense and hold on to it during difficult times.
Show some uncommon sense and pause, pray, and remember that God has shown in the most spectacular way possible how much He loves you (John 3.16) and, by His grace, already given us eternal comfort and good hope.
So much of 2 Thessalonians has been, up to this point, about showing some uncommon sense when things are difficult, acting and reacting differently to those around you when things are difficult. So, pause and pray and remember that God has already shown how much He loves you, that God has already given you eternal comfort and hope, and is there ready and waiting for you to pause, to pray, and to encourage and strengthen you in all that you do and say.