Sunday 6 December, 2020

2 Thessalonians 3:14-18

14 Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer. 16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. 17 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Peace. What a great way for Paul to end this letter to the Thessalonian church. This hasn’t been an ordinary letter- there’s been some heavy stuff here. Persecution, trials, suffering, end-time events, Satan’s tactics, deception – lots of things that could rob this infant-church of peace. 

But there’s another thief of peace that Paul mentions – interpersonal relationships. I struggle to think of things more effective at peace-robbing than conflict within church. Paul gives some clear, practical (and a bit brutal) guidance in this passage. 

1. Don’t associate with them (the Passion Translation says “stay away from them”)

2. BUT, also don’t treat them as your enemy 

3. Warn them as a fellow believer ie. in love

It’s in these times of conflict and struggle (esp. when it involves relationships) that we can take comfort from Jesus. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, will hand-deliver all the peace you need for every situation that tries to rob peace from you. 

Jesus, thanks so much for loving me and personally, hand-delivering all the peace I need for all that I’ll face today. I open the door; I’m waiting by the letter box – thanks for the promise – Your peace is on its way!    Amen

Written by Boudy Van Noppen

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