Lord, be with me today with Your grace and truth, Your mercy and justice. Come show Your rule over me.
Read 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
Reflect on when you have seen God working to accomplish the impossible. How can that instruct and encourage you today?
Most of us were taught that boasting is not good. Paul, however, is happy to boast about what has happened in Thessalonica. He wants all the churches in Greece to know what has happened and how the fledgling church has grown. He can boast because he recognizes that spiritual work like this is not the result of human effort, but divine activity. There is a sense of personal joy that his work has not been in vain, but he is boasting in the Lord and not in himself (1 Cor. 1:31, quoting Jer. 9:23,24). The story of Thessalonian idolaters becoming saints is something to encourage other churches who were themselves struggling in similar contexts.
God alone is able to transform pagans into saints. It’s good to tell others about what God has done. The danger arises when we think that we have some special ministry that has caused the growth, so that people pursue and copy us rather than glorify God. The true test of ministry is at the last day, when God judges all things. It is then that the glory of the Lord will be revealed by those whom he has redeemed. On that day all believers will marvel at the extent of the saving power of Christ, as those who have been the vilest sinners are revealed as trophies of the grace of God. God astonishes the world by such a transformation. But that day also sees the reversal of all worldly thinking that has opposed and persecuted the church. Those who have condemned God’s people will themselves be condemned.
The knowledge of God’s final judgment should not make us smug; rather, it should make us prayerful and witnessing. If we can be transformed by the grace of God, so can those who persecute us. This letter, after all, was written by a former persecutor.
Pray for persecutors of Christians that they might be saved and become like Paul. Pray for the persecuted, also.
God of the Ages, with You all things are possible. I’m amazed how You work in saving ways, bringing the most unlikely to Yourself. I give You my heartfelt praise.