Monday, February 16, 2009

2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 (Obligations, Selections, and Traditions)

Once again in this short letter we see Paul speaking about the obligation we have to be thankful to God. It sort of goes without saying, but the repeated nature of the statement causes it to stand out. The magnitude of what is owed God for all He has done naturally results in gratefulness, but it is easy to take things for granted. “We ought always;” “we should always” give thanks to God.

In this case, thanksgiving is born out of the knowledge of God’s election. The point here is not why God has chosen some to be saved, but the fact that He has is something for which to be very grateful. (Presuming one is one of those who have been chosen.) Looking back a couple of verses, we are reminded that not only do we need divine help to understand and accept the Gospel message, but some have deluded against the truth.

Paul then encourages his readers to hold fast to the truth they have been taught. When we realize what we believe plays a role in the salvation we have experienced, doctrine becomes more than just an exercise in academia. The truths contained in Scripture are vitally important, especially if there are deluding influences out there causing some to believe things that are not true.

All this ties into a conversation had with a man handing out gospel tracts in Switzerland earlier this month. When asked if his approach to sharing the gospel worked, he had an interesting perspective. We tend to measure the success of our efforts solely by those who receive the message and come to Christ. Perhaps a better method of measurement would be to count the outgoing message regardless of response or reception. Whether people accept or reject the gospel is up to them. Our task is merely to spread it.


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