Thursday 3 December, 2020

2 Thessalonians 2:13-17

13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. 16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.

I went cycling today for the first time in a while. I remembered the secret that the bike goes where you are looking. This is great except when you see an obstacle ahead. Naturally, my eyes go straight to the impending danger. And of course, that’s exactly where the bike goes too.

Paul has just been telling the Thessalonian church that they have not missed Jesus’ return. Lots of dramatic things will happen before Jesus comes. So, should they focus on looking for those dramatic things to make sure they are ready? Paul tells them what he thinks they should be focussing on.

He starts with what Jesus has already done, what the Holy Spirit is currently doing and then the expectation that God will finish what he began. God chose them to be “firstfruits” of the people God is still bringing in. The Holy Spirit is restoring them as God’s children and transforming them to be like Christ. He tells them to focus their attention on the truth they believed and the teachings they received.

Like when I’m cycling, if they focus on the “man of lawlessness” or the other dramatic events to come, that’s where their hearts will go – into fear. But if they focus on Jesus, their hearts will be filled with the hope Paul prays for – looking towards Jesus returning to complete what he began.

Jesus, fill our hearts with hope today.

Written by David Cornell

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