Stand fast because you are chosen.

FDR for 15/03/2014
Todays’ passages are 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 and Luke 20:45-21:4

As we sit eating our meal or having a drink at any time in any day we can watch the food for our eyes and mind from various parts of the world that demonstrate the wars and rumours of wars (Matt 24:5-7) that we are told to be aware of as signs of the end times.

What struck you in the last week of all the fighing and rumours of fighting? Perhaps Crimea and the invasion that is not. Perhaps the picture of the Syrian city, all but demolished, but standing in the natural light of what is left are thousands, perhaps millions of survivours crowded together. Perhaps the police and citizens fighting each other in Turkey. Then there is Somalia, Chad, and Egypt.

Shall I go on – no – I’m sure you can add some I haven’t mentioned.

This portion of the letter begins by reminding us we are chosen (v13) and called because God chose us from the beginning (v14). (see also Rom 8:30)

And then the very next thing is to “stand firm”.

Just walk with me mentally for a moment. If we are chosen and called by the Spirit then we could relax and not be concerned. Surely?

Ah, but the constant here is God’s grace and love of us as His children that we, as Thessalonians, should be encouraged and engaged to be steadfast in our belief. So this too is turned on its head, so that our close relationship with God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit does not allow us to relax and chill-out but encourages us to be firm in our faith. And by extension active also in our faith.

But the encouragement to stand firm is broader than just as we watch or read whatever brings the ugly news. Here the Thessalonians, and we too, are being encouraged to be firm in the much broader sense of our lives together as members of His church and before God.

While we are looking at things turned upside down, the passage in Luke describes Jesus views of the teachers of the law of His time, the equivalent of our ministers, as wolves making life harder for all and parading around.

Also to compare unfavourably the gifts of the rich and the gifts of the widow that are of much greater value than those of the rich. Not because her gift is counted but it is measured for its value to her.

Jesus contrasts the hypocrisy of the teachers of the law and the gift from the widow’s life. Her last two tiny coins, she gives her all.

A rhetorical question – When we look privately at our own exercise of our faith before God which do we live like, a teacher of the law or a widow?

Dear God, may we see honestly and clearly our own lives before and for You as they truly are. Strengthen us in our faith as we seek to stand firm as people who know Christ. These things we ask in the name of our Lord Jesus, Amen.

Glenn Murray
[This blog was prepared with the help of the Matthwew Henry Commentary and the IVP New Testament Commentary Series provided by the]


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