SCRIPTURE: 2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5
Chosen for Salvation
13 But we must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 For this purpose he called you through our proclamation of the good news, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter.
16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, 17 comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.
Request for Prayer
1 Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us, so that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified everywhere, just as it is among you, 2 and that we may be rescued from wicked and evil people; for not all have faith. 3 But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. 4 And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will go on doing the things that we command. 5 May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
Neta Pringle makes the argument that “The one thing that is clear from Paul’s description is that there will be an accounting for those who rebel against God. Deep inside, each of us knows that there are times when, despite our best efforts, we do deny God’s rightful place in our lives. Rather than speculate about the who and the when of Christ’s return, we need to tend our own souls. Rather than try to identify the lawless one, we need to recognize our own tendency to play that role.”
Pringle’s words ring loud for me in relation to some past experiences in various churches I have attended and interacted with. Specifically, the lines, “Rather than try to identify the lawless one, we need to recognize our own tendency to play that role.” It is easy to fall into the trap of judging the faults ad failings of others while missing our own. A former parishioner and good friend said on several occasions that when you point your finger accusingly at someone else, there are three more pointing right back at you. Not that we should shy away from speaking out against injustice, oppression, and other concerns. But we also need to make sure we are taking the time to “tend our own souls” before we go judging others.
The Bible is full of stories of people who rebel against God. Which one is most like your own story and is easiest to relate to? Which one surprises you the most, and why?
God of all time and place, like your children over time we too rebel. We too believe that we are in charge, not you. But even when we cannot admit it, we know that you are in control. Forgive and remember us. Amen.