2 Thessalonians 3:4
And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that you both do and will do the things which we command you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) We have confidence in the Lord touching you.—Rather, We rely upon you in the Lord: the clause forms the counterpart to the last verse. St. Chrysostom’s whole comment is worth transcription:—“God, saith he, is faithful, and having promised to save, save He assuredly will, but as He promised. And how did He promise? If we would be agreeable, and would hear Him; not unconditionally, nor while we remain inactive like stocks and stones. Yet, well has he added his, ‘We rely in the Lord:’ that is, ‘We trust to His love of men.’ Once more he takes them down, ascribing the whole matter to that quarter; for had he said ‘We trust to you,’ it would have been a great compliment indeed, but would not have taught them to ascribe all to God; and had he said ‘We rely on the Lord that He will keep you,’ without adding ‘upon you,’ and ‘that ye both do and will do what things we command,’ he would have made them less active by casting the whole upon the power of God.” (See the passage of Galatians referred to in the margin.)

Both do and will do.—The emphasis of the sentence is on the future tense, the commendation of the present being only intended to do away the rebuke which might have been conveyed by the future alone. How careful St. Paul is not to wound susceptibilities, though he never “pleases men”! (See, for instance, Notes on 1Thessalonians 4:1; 1Thessalonians 4:9-10; 1Thessalonians 5:11.) This expression of confidence is a happy rhetorical means of preparing readers for the commands which are to follow.

3:1-5 Those who are far apart still may meet together at the throne of grace; and those not able to do or receive any other kindness, may in this way do and receive real and very great kindness. Enemies to the preaching of the gospel, and persecutors of its faithful preachers, are unreasonable and wicked men. Many do not believe the gospel; and no wonder if such are restless and show malice in their endeavours to oppose it. The evil of sin is the greatest evil, but there are other evils we need to be preserved from, and we have encouragement to depend upon the grace of God. When once the promise is made, the performance is sure and certain. The apostle had confidence in them, but that was founded upon his confidence in God; for there is otherwise no confidence in man. He prays for them for spiritual blessings. It is our sin and our misery, that we place our affections upon wrong objects. There is not true love of God, without faith in Jesus Christ. If, by the special grace of God, we have that faith which multitudes have not, we should earnestly pray that we may be enabled, without reserve, to obey his commands, and that we may be enabled, without reserve, to the love of God, and the patience of Christ.And we have confidence in the Lord - Not primarily in you, for you have hearts like others, but in the Lord. It is remarkable that when Paul expresses the utmost confidence in Christians that they will live and act as becomes their profession, his reliance is not on anything in themselves, but wholly on the faithfulness of God. He must be a stranger to the human heart who puts much confidence in it even in its best state; see Philippians 1:6; Philippians 4:7; 2 Timothy 1:12; compare Jde 1:24; Revelation 3:10; Proverbs 28:26. 4. we have confidence in the Lord—as "faithful" (2Th 3:3). Have confidence in no man when left to himself [Bengel].

that ye both do—Some of the oldest manuscripts insert a clause, "that ye both have done" before, "and are doing, and will do." He means the majority by "ye," not all of them (compare 2Th 3:11; 2Th 1:3; 1Th 3:6).

The apostle had before declared his confidence that God would establish them and keep them from evil, and now here declares his confidence in them concerning their obedience; for he knew well that this is the way of God’s keeping men; and hereby he shows that he built his confidence concerning what he had before declared about their election, calling, establishment, and preservation upon some good ground. And he describes their obedience by doing what the apostle and his fellow labourers in the gospel among them commanded them, whether they were commandments about the duties of the law of the first or second tables, or the doctrine, order, worship, or discipline of the gospel; so that their commandments were no other but the commandments of the Lord himself, Matthew 28:20 1 Corinthians 14:37. Ministers are not arbitrary commanders in the church; not lords over God’s heritage, 1 Peter 5:3, or have dominion over the people’s faith, 2 Corinthians 1:24; nor may they, as the Pharisees, teach for doctrines the commandments of men, Matthew 15:9. And he speaks before of these Thessalonians, that they received the word preached by them, not as the word of men, but of God, 1 Thessalonians 2:13. Both our faith and practice in religion are to be built upon Divine authority; either upon what God hath expressly declared, or what by clear consequence may be derived from it. So that what they command the people is from the Lord, and not themselves. Their work is to search out the mind and will of Christ, as revealed in the Scripture, seeing they have not that immediate infallible inspiration that the apostles had, who were called to lay the foundation which others were to build upon. And as to those things that are but appendices, and not of the substance of religion, and for which no particular rule is or can be laid down, Christian prudence is to regulate them according to general rules, wherein the advice, appointment, and authority of the minister is to be regarded in every church. Yet nothing ought to be enjoined in these things that is uncomely, that is not for edification, that is not of good report, that hath an appearance of evil, that gives just occasion of offence, that transgresseth the general rule of mercy, that is a direction of superstition, whereby many of the commandments of the Romish Church are justly condemned. And obedience to these commandments of the apostle he describes by the universality of it,

the things that we command you; that is, all things; the indefinite being equivalent to the universal. And by the constancy of it, that ye both do and will do, & c.; ye will persevere to do what commandments ye have already received, or any new commandments we shall further give you; some whereof are probably such as are mentioned in the following part of this chapter. And their present obedience gave the apostle confidence about that which was future; at least he declares to them this confidence, as an insinuating argument to persuade them thereunto. And we have confidence in the Lord touching you,.... The ground of confidence concerning them was not in themselves, in their grace, and strength, and wisdom, and conduct, and good behaviour; but in the Lord, in his grace and strength, and in the power of his might, without whom they could do nothing, but through him strengthening them, could do all things.

That ye both do, and will do the things which we command you; referring both to the commandments, which they had already given them by Christ, and they had showed, and continued to show a proper regard unto, see 1 Thessalonians 4:1 and also to what would be observed to them, as in 2 Thessalonians 3:6.

{3} And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you.

(3) The second admonition is, that they always follow the doctrine of the apostles as a rule for their life.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Thessalonians 3:4. The apostle has confidence in Christ that He will come to the assistance of the Thessalonians, promoting their faith and protecting them; but he is likewise confident in them, that they on their part will not fail in obedience to the apostle’s commands. Thus the apostle paves the way for a suitable transition to the exhortation in 2 Thessalonians 3:6 ff.

ἐν κυρίῳ] a statement of the element of his confidence annexed to πεποίθαμεν ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς, in order to express that the apostle’s confidence in his readers was one founded on Christ, caused by the participation of Christianity. Comp. Galatians 5:10; Php 2:24; Romans 14:14.

ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς] see Meyer on 2 Corinthians 2:3.

καὶ ποιεῖτε] does not still belong to the protasis (see Erasmus on the passage), but begins the apodosis.2 Thessalonians 3:4. πεποίθαμεν (= we have faith), still playing on the notion of πίστις. Paul rallies the Thessalonians by reminding them, not only of God’s faithfulness, but of their friends’ belief in them.4. And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you] “The Lord” is not, as the English phrase may suggest, the object of this confidence—2 Thessalonians 3:3 declared the Apostle’s trust in Him—but the ground on which rests his confidence in the Thessalonian Church. His relations with them and feelings towards them have the common relationship of both to Christ for their foundation and background, their vital underlying bond; comp. 1 Thessalonians 3:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:12 and 2 Thessalonians 3:12 below. No idiom is more frequent or characteristic of St Paul than this—in the Lord, in Christ. But it is “to you” that his confidence is now directed; the construction of the Greek is identical with that of 2 Corinthians 2:3, “having confidence in you all.” Let us accordingly read here, in the Lord we have confidence in you. Such is the trust that all true Christians should give to each other.

For command read charge, as in 1 Thessalonians 4:2‚ 11 (see notes). The word is taken up again in 2 Thessalonians 3:6. The Apostle seems to have an eye already to the “charge” that he is about to give, which will put to the test his readers’ obedience. The like satisfaction he has repeatedly expressed (ch. 2 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:6-10; 1 Thessalonians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10; 1 Thessalonians 5:11).2 Thessalonians 3:4. Ἐν Κυριῳ, in the Lord) Trust [“Have confidence in”] no man by himself.—παραγγέλλομεν, we charge or command) for example, that ye pray for us, that ye fortify yourselves. See 2 Thessalonians 3:1 [2, 3].Verse 4. - And we have confidence in the Lord. The apostle confidently expects the obedience of the Thessalonians, but his confidence is not fixed on them - on their own efforts, endeavours, and resolutions - but on the Lord, namely, Christ; on his grace and strength communicated to and perfected in weakness. The obedience of the Thessalonians flowed from the grace of Christ; it was in consequence of the communication of the influences of his Spirit that they were enabled to make progress and to persevere in the Christian life. "Here," observes Professor Jowett, "as elsewhere, the apostle speaks of believing, hoping, doing all things in Christ. We lead an ordinary life as well as a religious one; but, with the apostle, his ordinary life is his religious one, and hence he uses religious expressions in reference to all that he says and does." The apostle lives in the sphere of Christ. Touching you; with reference to you - the direction of his confidence. That ye both do and will do the things which we command you. There is here the same union of Divine assistance and human effort, of God's working and man's working, which pervades the whole scheme of the gospel salvation (see Philippians 2:12, 13).
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