2 Thessalonians 2.13-15

During my early leadership days, I was a mere teenager elected by my Boy Scout Troop 255 to serve as the Sr. Patrol Leader.  One of my forays in the role of leading our troop was on a weekend backpack trip to a favorite campsite along one of the many unnamed sloughs in the Sacramento Valley.  Many in our troop were Tenderfeet, not only in rank but also in life.

This was a first camping trip for a few.  They had overloaded their packs.  If we had a scale it would have screamed for relief with these boulder-weighted loads.

On the trail the inexperienced and burdened scouts were falling behind.  I dropped back to encourage the few and to keep them company.  They wanted to quit and go home.

It was time to urge them on because the destination was going to be worthwhile.  We would swim, dive and feast on great food.  The campfire would bring on Smores, stories and great laughter.  “Keep on, pace yourself,” I assured them.

We all did make it to camp.  The rope on the huge oak tree still swung scouts through the sky and sent them splashing and laughing into the cool waters.  We fished, cooked, ate, laughed and counted the stars at night.  It was well worth the hard hike to get there.  I marveled at how great it felt to lead lives to a destination and see them thoroughly enjoying themselves.

The Apostle and his companions think highly of the Thessalonian believers.  This affection is real and spiritual. It is a thoughtful relationship of gratitude.  Paul acknowledges that this is sensible since the believers are loved by the Lord.

Validating God’s love for His own is clearly seen in the ministry of God’s election process, a salvation experience.  We belong to Him, He saved us, He has a vested interest in us. Our salvation had an eternal price, it was the price of His one and only Son’s life.  He paid that on our behalf.  It was a great expression of love.

God not only arranged for the ransom that was required for the salvation of the Thessalonian believers, He took care of logistics to implement it as well.  The Holy Spirit accomplished the miracle of implementing this amazing gift.

In simultaneous sequence, the Father made certain that we would have the faith in order to believe in the truth.  Sin had affected us to such a degree that we could not even choose to exercise faith in the work of Christ.  God made sure that this key ingredient was also possible.  Everything to make sure that the transaction of salvation occurred; the Father orchestrated a plan to make it a reality.

The mechanism that God chose to make salvation a reality for His people is the gospel.  That it, the gospel is the good news about Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.  People hear the gospel, then by faith respond to its truth and live a new life that is made possible by the regeneration that follows this choice of faith.

There are amazing benefits to taking this step of faith.  Embracing the gospel by faith is more than resolving our past problems with sin.  It is important and it is the beginning.

We must repent of our sins when we come to Jesus Christ through the Good News of the gospel.  Then, we express our faith, we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior.  God does a miracle in our lives.  We are regenerated, He is satisfied and then we grow steadily by way of maturity and service.

In addition to resolving our past and giving to us purpose for the present, God also makes provisions in our salvation for our future.  He gives us hope in what is to come.  One of the promises is that we who are born again will share in the glory of Christ when we arrive in eternity.

Since God has made so much possible and available to those who belong to Him, they should naturally respond.  God has invested eternity into the lives of those who follow His Son.  Therefore, they should be determined to be settled with deep conviction.

Choosing to believe and follow in the God who rescued a person is sensible.  There is a determination that is reflected in this exhortation.  In a resolve there is no room for hesitation or a change of mind.  The very nature of this serious decision and the kind of faith necessary to launch mitigate against a fickle spirit.

After a person chooses faith they must also choose their new faith with certainty.  God has made His part clear.  Now, people who benefit from His grace must resolve to hold on to the apostles’ teaching as well.

There are many dangers facing Christians in this lifetime.  False teachers are trying to win their ear.  Satan is actively attempting to thwart their life of faith.  Even their own sin nature is a major distraction and danger.  Holding on to the apostles’ teachings through conversation, teaching or in written form.  These will give them success in their spiritual pursuits.

Any and all Christians should discover in one another the intrinsic value that we all share.  God loves us.  He saved us, made it possible to do so and given us promises to keep us motivated until we are in eternity with Him forever.  If we dwell on all that God did in order to make our salvation possible, then we should be stunned.

He may have given us a task in this lifetime that will at first blush appear to be daunting.  However, He has given us a hope in eternity to motivate us to eagerly live our lives for Him.  We will even be able to share in Jesus’ glory once we get to heaven.

LAPP: Every Christian must operate on the basis of convictions.  Know what is true, what we believe, seal it in our spirit that we will never compromise those value choices.  Instead we will strive to live with determination for Christ.

Thanks for joining on this journey to live the Scriptures.

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