2 Thessalonians 1 Bible study

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The Pentecostal Bible Commentary

1 Corinthians

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Chapter 1.

 

Greetings.

 

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

 

Paul, Silas and Timothy, who co-wrote this letter, worked as a team during Paul's second missionary journey. Scholars fix the date of the letter at about 51 AD.   It is addressed to the congregation of believers in Christ who live at Thessalonica. Their privileged  position is one shared by all believers - we dwell in God and the Lord Jesus Christ. We are joined to the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17). Nothing can separate us from Christ (Rom. 8:38 - 39). We abide in him and our lives are hid with Christ in God (Col. 3:3).

 

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

 

Paul's usual greeting is that the grace (unmerited favour and blessing of God) and true heart peace would be freely bestowed on them by God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice that God is our Father. The blessing and peace of God became ours since when we became God's children by receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour (John 1:12).

 

 

Faithful Under Persecution.

 

3. We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.

 

Paul was indebted to give thanks to God for the Thessalonian believers, since from the time they heard the gospel until the time of his writing, God's grace had been at work in them. Paul saw how the faith of the young converts was outgrowing all bounds and their love for each other was increasing. This gave clear evidence to everyone of the continuing work of grace in their lives. They were going on with the Lord.

 

4. Therefore we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith during all your persecutions and the afflictions that you are enduring.

 

Their growth was in spite of (or perhaps because of) the trial and fiery persecution they were experiencing. This gave Paul reason to boast about the Thessalonians in all the churches, that Christ was doing a genuine work in their souls. Although the persecution was severe, they continued in their faith in Christ (1 Thess. 2:14 ; Acts 17:5 - 9).

 

Note: Whilst tribulation refers to trials and hardships generally, persecution is a more personal word, meaning that injury was planned and perpetrated by individuals against the church and its members.

 

5. This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, and is intended to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering.

 

The fact that this young church remained faithful to the Lord despite persecution was evidence of the fact that they had received God's righteousness through faith in Christ which made them fit to be partakers of God's kingdom. So, before all men, God was justified in his justification of the believers, in as much as they continued to be faithful to Him.

 

6,7,8. For it is indeed just of God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to the afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

 

In the same way, God will also be fully vindicated in his dealings with the ungodly and especially those who persecute his church. Just as it is right in God's sight to justify those who believe in Jesus, so it is right to punish and repay those who do not believe and who afflict his people.

 

 

The Coming of Christ.

 

Eternal rest (not inactivity, but freedom from affliction) - will be the portion of those who so genuinely believe in Christ that they are willing to suffer for his sake. Those who refuse to identify with Jesus Christ, but who trouble his people will themselves be troubled throughout all eternity. The same truth may be found in Jesus' own teaching (Luke 6:20 - 26). Our troubles will end, but theirs never will.

 

This will happen when Jesus comes again. He will be clearly seen and recognized by all on earth, as he comes with all his mighty angels, to inflict vengeance on all who do not know God and who do not believe in Him.

 

9. These will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.

 

The word "destruction" should not be confused with "annihilation". At no time will the ungodly cease to exist. Instead they shall suffer continually and forever (Matt. 13:41 - 42). To God, everlasting destruction means to be shut out of His presence and glory forever (Rev. 14:9 - 11). This is the punishment of all those who reject Jesus Christ. The most serious matter in the universe is to accept or reject God's only Son.

 

10. When he comes to be glorified by his saints and to be marveled at on that day among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.

 

Whilst Christ's coming will bring doom to the ungodly, it will bring tremendous wonder and adoration to all those who believe, since they shall be ushered into his presence to spend an unspeakably blessed eternity (1 Thess. 4:17). Paul is assured that the Thessalonians will be partakers in this tremendous event, since they believed the gospel message which he had preached among them.

 

 

Prayer for Steadfastness.

 

11. To this end we always pray for you, asking that our God will make you worthy of his call and will fulfill by his power every good resolve and work of faith.

 

For this reason, Paul prays God will enable them to continue in the faith in spite of their trials. By doing this, they shall be "counted worthy of his calling". Paul knew the danger of the Thessalonians falling away. The ground that is tended by God (believers) yet which produce only thorns and thistles is rejected by God (Heb. 6:7 - 8). So are the branches of the vine (believers) who do not bear any fruit (John 15:6). Believers who do not continue in the Lord are rejected by Him.

 

Paul prays that God would perfect his work of grace in the Thessalonian believers by his power through faith (v12). As He did, so would the name of the Lord Jesus Christ receive increasing praise through their lives and testimony, as others saw what the Lord had done for them. The believers themselves will be glorified, since they shall be changed increasingly into the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ - not by human effort but as they continue in the grace of God.

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