2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brothers beloved of the Lord…
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.
I. THEIR ELECTION OF GOD.
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.
II. THEIR CALLING BY HIS MINISTRY.
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.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
WEB: But we are bound to always give thanks to God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief in the truth;