2 Thessalonians 2:13
But we should always thank God for you, brothers who are loved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning to be saved by the sanctification of the Spirit and by faith in the truth.
ElectionCharles Haddon Spurgeon 2 Thessalonians 2:13
Apostolic Thanksgiving for the Election and the Calling of the ThessaloniansT. Croskery 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 14
The Divine Work of SalvationW.F. Adeney 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 14
Connection Between Faith and the Sanctification of the SpiritL. O. Thompson.2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
Effectual Calling2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
ElectionT. Manton, D. D.2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
Exhortation to SteadfastnessR. Finlayson 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
God's SalvationClerical World2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
Gratitude for SalvationC. Simeon, M. A.2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
Gratitude to God for SalvationT. B. Baker.2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
Holiness2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
Justification and SanctificationC. H. Spurgeon.2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
St. Paul's Hopes for the ThessaloniansB.C. Caffin 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
The Favoured PeopleT. Kidd.2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
The Nature, Duty, and Privilege of a ChristianJ. D. Geden, D. D.2 Thessalonians 2:13-17

I. THE DIVINE ELECTION. "God hath from the beginning chosen you."

1. There is an "election according to grace" (Romans 11:5). It is not to be confounded with the calling, which is an effect of it. "Whom he predestinated, them he also called" (Romans 8:30). Our salvation is always traced to "his own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."

2. The date of the election. "From the beginning." It is "from the foundation of the world" (Ephesians 1:4), and therefore does not rest upon the personal claims of individuals.

3. The means of the election. "In sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth." The election is to the means as well as the end; it cannot take effect without the means. There is an objective as well as a subjective side in the sphere of the election.

(1) The sanctification of the Spirit. This is the objective side.

(a) It implies a spiritual change of nature. The Spirit applies the salvation, and regeneration is his first work.

(b) Sanctification is the evidence as well as the fruit of election.

(2) "The belief of the truth." This is the subjective side. Man is not passive in his salvation.

(a) As the Spirit is the agent, the truth is the instrument of salvation.

(b) The truth must be believed in order to salvation. As men are chosen to be saints, they are chosen also to be believers.

(3) The necessary connection between the sanctification and the belief. It might appear as if the belief of the truth ought to precede the sanctification of the Spirit. But there cannot be faith without the operation of the Spirit, while, on the other hand, the sanctification is "through the truth." The two are inseparably joined together.

4. The end of the election. "God hath chosen you to salvation."

(1) It is not an election to Church privileges.

(2) Nor to national privileges.

(3) But to salvation itself.

(a) This is salvation from sin and sorrow, death and hell.

(b) It is "the end of our faith" (1 Peter 1:9).

II. THE DIVINE CALLING. "Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." The election issues in the call.

1. The Author of the call. God. "There is one Lawgiver who is able to save and to destroy." He has the right to call and the power to call. Nothing but Divine power can save the soul.

2. The means of the call. "Our gospel." The ministry of the Word was the great instrument in the Spirit's hand of their conversion.

3. The end of the call.

(1) It was to obtain the glory of Christ. It was to be obtained, not purchased or wrought out by their personal righteousness.

(2) Believers are to share in the very glory of their Redeemer. - T.C.

We are bound to give thanks
The apostle is here contrasting the state of the Thessalonians with that of many who should, at a future period, arise in the Church, whose presumption should know no bounds, and who for their impiety would be given over by God to final impenitence. While those transgressors were doomed to everlasting misery, the Thessalonian converts were ordained to eternal life, having been from the beginning chosen by God to salvation, and having been in time called to the enjoyment of it through the ministry of the gospel which the apostle preached. For them, therefore, he gives thanks, as it was most meet for him to do, since it was the mercy that called for the devoutest praises from all.


1. The end to which they were elected. It was "salvation," even "the salvation that was in Christ Jesus with eternal glory." It was not to the means of salvation merely; for many enjoyed the means of salvation on whose behalf he could not give thanks, yea, on whose account "he had continual heaviness and sorrow of heart;" but it was to salvation itself, with all its inconceivable and lasting blessings.

2. The means by which that end was attained. God has ordained the means as well as the end; and He has ordained the end no otherwise than by and through the appointed means. He had chosen the Thessalonians to salvation "through the sanctification of the Spirit." Further: He had chosen them to salvation through "belief of the truth." By faith we lay hold on the promises of God; by faith we become united to Christ; by faith we bring down from heaven all those supplies of grace which are necessary for us in this state of warfare. Thus faith and holiness are inseparably connected with salvation; and to them men are elected as much as to salvation itself.


1. The instrument is His Word. As far as His Providence concurs in the salvation of men, it is only in subserviency to His Word. This is the rod of His might by which all the wonders of His grace are wrought. Miracles gave credibility to the testimony which Christ and His apostles bore; but it was the testimony itself, as applied by "the Holy Spirit to the soul, that wrought effectually upon the hearts of men. And in all ages it is the same Word, either read or preached, that is effectual to conversion. So the apostle reminds his converts at Thessalonica that, though they were from eternity chosen of God to salvation, they were called to the possession of it through the ministry of the gospel.

2. The same instrument, if received rightly, will operate effectually to the same end. It had turned the Thessalonians "from idols to serve the living God;" and thus it will assuredly work on all who cordially embrace it. It "is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword": it "is mighty to the pulling down of the strongholds of Satan": it "prospers in the thing whereunto God has sent it." When the time has come for the return home of His wandering sheep, He apprehends them by His Word, and brings them with His gracious energy to His fold, making them "willing in the day of His power." This is His invariable process — "Whom He did predestinate, them He also called," etc. Conclusion:

1. Those who have never yet obeyed the Gospel call must not say, "I am not of God's elect, and therefore I cannot help myself." They have been "called to a belief of the truth," such as should lead them to rely entirely upon the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, and to the sanctification of the Spirit, even such a sanctification as should progressively transform them into the Divine image of righteousness and true holiness. They should therefore receive freely at His hands all the blessings offered thus to them. If, however, they will obey the Divine call, their blood will be on their own head.

2. Those who have obeyed the call should ever remember that God has chosen and ordained them to bring forth fruit to His honour and glory. He loved them, not from any good He saw or foresaw in them, but simply because He would love them. Hence they have every reason to give Him thanks; nay, their every breath should be an effusion of praise.

(C. Simeon, M. A.)

I. WHAT IS IT TO BE A CHRISTIAN? There are three characteristics in the text.

1. Belief of the truth.(1) There are various kinds of truth. All truth is not "the truth." There is natural and religious truth. Christian truth is distinguished from all other by being "the truth as it is in Jesus" — truth touching God, the soul, eternity.(2) So there are various kinds of belief. We believe things we see, results of reasoning, conclusions of argument, laws, things above reason, God and our own souls. The faith of our text, however, is(a) a faith of the heart — the verification of those truths which can be understood by the heart of man alone. This distinguishes it from mere intellectual effort.(b) A supernatural faith. Observe the company in which it is put — side by side with. the power of the Spirit of God. And everywhere in Scripture it is so. It is by the supernatural operation of the Holy Ghost, and is supernatural in its origin, operations, and results.

2. Sanctification of the Spirit. There is a question whether this refers immediately to the objective work of the Holy Ghost, or the subjective work in man's own spirit. But it is immaterial; it amounts to the same in either case. Sanctification in its broadest, its Biblical as distinguished from its theological sense, is a triple work.

(1)It is the purgation of the soul of him who believeth by the sprinkling of the blood of Christ.

(2)It is the recreation of the moral nature by the Holy Spirit.

(3)It is the dedication of the cleansed and renovated person to God.

3. Hope of everlasting life. Three things are connected with and result from sin: Disaster — "The soul that sinneth it shall die." Privation — of blessedness. Suffering — an accusing conscience and a dark outlook. Over against these in glorious and everlasting antithesis are

(1)Eternal life.

(2)Positive blessing.

(3)Present and eternal joy and glory.This is our hope. It is a good hope, a hope assured to us by warrant beyond dispute.


1. Goodness (ver. 17). To be good.(1) Negatively, to put away that which is evil. This is a part of our duty of which we cannot afford to think lightly. Christ suffered for us that He might deliver us from the present evil world. Those who are born of God do not commit sin.(2) But there is no such thing as a merely negative goodness. It is always also positive and practical, and finds expression in speech and action. It is a recognition of God in the family and daily life in reverence and worship, in the government of self and in charity towards man.(3) This goodness must be as universal as it is practical. "Every good word and work." There is a goodness which is eclectic; and it is right that we should devote attention especially to forms of goodness for which we are most fitted, but not to the neglect of those which are common to all: e.g., Religious worship and carelessness about personal purity are often found together; so are personal devoutness and neglect of missionary effort and vice versa. Good words of every kind.(4) This goodness is to be robust and energetic, not infantile and feeble. We love the heathen, but how much do we give them. We love our brother, but how often does a fault reduce that love to microscopic proportions.

2. Steadfastness. This goodness is to be practised consistently, not by fits and starts; through life, and not for an hour; not only when easy, but in the face of hardship and persecution.

III. WHAT ARE THE PRIVILEGES OF A CHRISTIAN? The characteristics and duties just mentioned. The three points are the same under different aspects. But specifically.

1. Consolation. This is needed at all times for the Church of God is now in its suffering state.(1) Christian life begins in self-sacrifice. The Christian passes from death into life through a strait gate, which excludes many a habit, etc., long cherished.(2) Christian life continues by sacrifice; the bearing of the daily cross, the conflict with sin, the evangelistic effort which is the very life of the Church, all involve loss and pain which need consolation. This consolation is abundant and abiding, consisting as it does of the love and presence of "Our Lord Jesus Christ," etc. (ver. 16).

2. Sanctity.

3. Good hope through grace.

4. Glory. Conclusion: How great the prospects, responsibility, dignity of a Christian.

(J. D. Geden, D. D.)

Clerical World.
I. CONSISTS in "obtaining the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." This phrase is evidently an expansion and more exact specification of the term salvation in ver. 13. The believer is to share the glory which Christ possesses (John 17.). Jesus has already given His glory of self-sacrificing love and union with the Father to His disciples in a measure, but hereafter it is to be given in fulness. What a great salvation!


1. As a result of God's choice and call. Not that this lessens human responsibility, or should relax human watchfulness and diligence (ver. 15).

2. As a result of the Spirit's sanctification.

3. Through personal apprehension of the truth.


(Clerical World.)


1. The Author: God. The Scriptures unanimously declare that true Christians are chosen of God. Who dare question the right of the Most High to choose them. While He injures none, for this is impossible, surely He may, if He please, confer special benefits on some (Romans 9:20, 21).

2. The date — "from the beginning" (1 Peter 2:9; 1 Peter 1:2; Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:4).

3. The end — "to salvation." This determines its true nature and supreme excellency. The Israelites were chosen, but many fell, and we are admonished to take heed lest we "fall after the same example of unbelief." The twelve were chosen to apostleship, but Judas apostatised. This salvation is not only deliverance from sin in this life, but eternal glory in the world to come.

II. True Christians are PERSONS OF A PECULIAR CHARACTER. God's chosen people are —

1. Believers of the truth.(1) God's Word is emphatically "the truth."(2) Believing is giving hearty credit to the Bible as the record of God in such a way as to feel affected and influenced by it according to the nature of the things which it regards. Without this belief of the truth we have no evidence of our election, and only "deceive our own selves."

2. Partakers of the Spirit. "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His." The Spirit in the heart is essential to the being of a Christian, for without Him there is no regeneration. Then His influence is necessary for every Christian enterprise. What reason there is for the admonitions "Quench not the Spirit," "Grieve not the Spirit." We must judge whether we are partakers of the Spirit by His fruit (Galatians 5:22-24).

3. The subjects of sanctification. The Spirit given to God's people produces and gradually promotes it. There is no way of attaining holiness but by the Spirit of Holiness. Faith bears a close connection with this state. Faith guards the Christian from sin and preserves him in the path of duty. Sanctification, therefore, is the best evidence of faith, and the best mark of election. We have proof that we are "of God" only as we are like God.

III. True Christians FURNISH CAUSE OF LIVELY THANKSGIVING. Why? True Christians are —

1. A proof of the power of the gospel.

2. A credit to Christianity (Philippians 1:27).

3. Useful to others.

(T. Kidd.)

Religion has two factors, the Divine and the human. All the doctrines whose object and result are the salvation of lost souls, have an inseparable connection. They necessitate and include each other. In the text, sanctification of the Spirit is conjoined with belief of the truth.


1. Its author is God.

2. It is from the beginning.

3. It is personal.

4. It is comforting. Those that are chosen are beloved of the Lord.


1. To produce holiness of thought, word and deed.

2. To secure salvation. Holiness is salvation.

3. To obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.


1. It proceeds from the love and grace of God.

2. It is rendered possible by the death of Christ.

3. It is carried into effect through the agency and influence of the Holy Spirit.

IV. ITS INSTRUMENT. This is the truth.

1. Men are called by the truth.

2. Men are sanctified through the truth (John 17:17).


1. Illumination by the Spirit in order to understand things that are spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:14).

2. Sanctification of the Spirit.

3. Belief of the truth. Apart from these, no person has, or can have, any proof that he is chosen of God to eternal life.


1. Men are lost because they have pleasure in unrighteousness, and believe not the truth.

2. No sanctification takes place in any soul apart from the belief of the truth.

3. The end of faith is the salvation of the soul.

4. Sanctification and faith have their roots in election.

5. Does any one seek for evidence of his election, let him believe the gospel and live a holy life.

(L. O. Thompson.)


1. By the rise of it, which is the mere love of God, for Paul calls these "brethren, beloved of the Lord" (Deuteronomy 7:7, 8). There is no antecedent worthiness in those whom God chooses (2 Timothy 1:9).

2. By the act itself "hath chosen you" making a distinction between them and others. Those whom God chooses He separates from the world (1 John 5:19). Their names are kept in the records of heaven (Luke 10:20; Philippians 4:3), whereas others are not (Revelation 17:8; Revelation 20:15).

3. By the antiquity of it "from the beginning" (Ephesians 1:4; Matthew 25:34). Love in God is of old standing, even from eternity, and what is from everlasting is to everlasting (Psalm 103:17).

4. By the means of its accomplishment two are mentioned, one on God's part and one on ours — Sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth. Where, note —(1) That God's decree is both of ends and means, for all His purposes are accomplished by fit means. He who has chosen us to salvation has chosen us to be holy, and to believe the truth. And without the means the end cannot be attained; for without faith and holiness no man shall see God or escape condemnation (John 3:36; Hebrews 12:14). What God has joined together let no man separate. If we separate these things God does not change his counsel, but we subvert His order to our own destruction.(2) That these are not causes but fruits of election (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:2; Acts 2:47; Acts 13:48).(3) That being the necessary fruits they are also evidences of our election. All that are sanctified by the Spirit and believe the truth belong to the election of God.(a) Sanctification is not only an external dedication to God, but an inward and real change (1 Corinthians 6:11).(b) Faith is not a cold assent to an opinion as to the Christian religion, but such a lively trust as brings us under its power (vers. 10, 12). The Thessalonians received the truth so as to obey it and suffer for it.(4) The connection between the two —(a) There is a necessary connection between them as of cause and effect, for none are powerfully drawn to believe but such as are sanctified. To incline and bring us to God is a work wholly reserved to the Spirit.(b) There is the connection of concomitancy between the gospel and the Spirit. The Spirit only goes along with the gospel; and so both external and internal grace are of God (John 17:17).(c) There is a subordination of faith to this work of the Spirit by the truth; for the greatest things work not till they are considered and believed (1 Thessalonians 2:13).


1. That thanksgiving to God is a great and necessary duty, expressly enjoined by Him, and expected from us (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

2. That we are to give thanks chiefly for spiritual and eternal mercies (Ephesians 1:3).

3. That the great expression of God's mercy is in election.(1) There we see all our blessings in their rise, which is the love and grace of God. Waters are sweetest and freshest in their fountain (John 3:16).(2) It shows us God's distinguishing grace, and who it was that made us differ from others (John 14:22; 1 Corinthians 1:26; Matthew 11:25, 26).(3) Then we may see that grace takes off self-boasting (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Ephesians 1:6).

(T. Manton, D. D.)


1. Thanksgiving for the salvation of others (Romans 6:17).

2. Thanksgiving is the constant duty of all Christians (Ephesians 5:20).

3. The cause is the revelation of God's love (Jeremiah 31:3).


1. Election.

(1)God's people are a chosen people (Romans 8:29).

(2)Chosen from the beginning, or eternity (Titus 1:2).

(3)Without any regard to previous good works (Titus 3:5).

(4)Chosen in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:4).

(5)To salvation here, and glory hereafter (Ephesians 2:10).

2. Sanctification.

(1)The Spirit quickens the soul (Ephesians 2:1, 5).

(2)The Spirit enlightens the mind (Ephesians 1:18).

(3)The Spirit leads the soul to glory (John 14:16, 17).

3. Faith.

(1)Negative faith, or ceasing to trust in self (2 Corinthians 1:9).

(2)Faith in God's blessed Word (Psalm 119:41, 42).

(3)Faith in Christ and His work (Acts 16:31).


1. They were called to believe these doctrines (Ephesians 4:4-6).

2. He always calls into Christian fellowship (1 Corinthians 1:9).

3. He calls His people into liberty (Galatians 5:13).

4. The instrumentality employed. Our gospel (1 Corinthians 1:23, 24).

5. The blessing obtained is eternal glory, called in the text, "the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ;" which denotes that the chosen, sanctified, and believing, and called people of God, shall never be separated from Him, or perish (Colossians 2:4).

(T. B. Baker.)

A godly English minister of two hundred years ago, the Rev. Thomas Doolittle, used to "catechise" his congregation, more especially the young people, every Lord's Day. An incident that melted his hearers on one occasion is thus related. The question was on "effectual calling," and to bring it more closely home to them he suggested that they should recite the answer, changing the word us to me, and our to my. No one had the courage to begin, till a young man well known as one who had led a bad life arose, and with every sign of contrition repeated, amid the tears of the congregation: "Effectual calling is the work of God's Spirit, whereby convincing me of my sin and misery, enlightening my mind in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing my will, He did persuade and enable me to embrace Jesus Christ freely offered to me in the gospel." This young man had been convicted by being catechised — think of such a thing happening in these days of looser religious discipline! band from being a wicked and ignorant youth he had become an intelligent Christian.

Manton says, "A malefactor that hath a leprosy on him needs not only a pardon, but a medicine; and in a broken leg, not only ease of the pain is desirable, but that the bone be set right. So we need both justification and sanctification." Justification saves the malefactor, and sanctification cures him of his spiritual disease: are they not equally desirable? Who would wish to miss the one or the other if in need of them? Pardon removes the pain of our broken bones, but spiritual renewal reduces the fracture. Let us not be content with half a gospel, but obtain a whole Christ for our broken hearts. Renewal of life is every way as desirable as forgiveness of sin. As well be full of guilt as full of guile. if a child has eaten unhealthy food it is well to cure the disease which is occasioned by it, but it is equally desirable to break him of the habit Which led him to such foul feeding.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

When Dr. Livingstone asked one of the Bechuanas, What is holiness? the reply was, "When copious showers have descended during the night, and all the earth and leaves and cattle are washed clean, and the sun rising shows a drop of dew on every blade of grass, and the air breathes fresh, that is holiness."

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