December 30, 2014
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 30 December 2014
In the closing verses of 2 Thessalonians 2, the emphasis of the Bible is upon God’s calling, which is the act by which the Lord extends the opportunity to enter a saving relationship with Him. Thanks is given for the believer’s salvation and praise is ascribed for the Christian's perseverance. Exhortation is then given for the believer to appreciate the comfort and hope that is the result of affirming the truths revealed in Scripture.
In contrast to the unbelievers who were referenced in verse 12, the Apostle Paul expressed his gratitude for his readers: those who are part of the church. The reason for the Apostle’s joy (v. 13) is the result of God’s choice of them for salvation before He created the world. Consistently throughout the New Testament, “from the beginning” indicates a time prior to the world being created, before the foundation of the world, before creation itself; the emphasis is upon God’s choice of individuals for salvation. The initiative for salvation comes from God; it is his choosing; it does not come from human beings; rather, God accomplishes his salvation through the work of the Holy Spirit, which is the reason for Paul’s joy (i.e. the fact of God choosing for salvation). Paul gave thanks for those that have received God’s salvation.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:14, Paul gave thanks that God called the Thessalonians so they could share splendor with the Lord: “that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The experience of being made holy (sanctification) occurs in three different realms. Positional sanctification is equivalent to justification. Experiential sanctification is the believer becoming more and more Christlike (i.e. demonstrating spiritual maturity). Ultimate sanctification is the glorification of the body when believers are confirmed in holiness. Paul addressed the latter when he referenced believers receiving splendor and honor.
Praise God for his revelation regarding the present times and what the future entails for believers. God is gracious in calling sinners unto salvation. What longing there should be for the day when believers will be with God, and experience all the splendor and honor of their relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Scripture gives a hope unlike any other. Praise God for His grace and salvation! The grace of the Lord should continue to enable his people to stand firm, to hold to the truths (which are taught in Scripture), and do all things as to his glory and by his grace. Praise God for the indwelling Holy Spirit and the Word of God to both strengthen, guide, and empower those who belong to Christ Jesus.
Wishing you a blessed New Year,