This will be my final post from Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonian church. He leaves them with some parting admonishments.
And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.
2 Thessalonians 3:13
This is especially important. We must not get discouraged from doing the right things. That’s because living right never ends.
We sometimes get discouraged because we find ourselves doing the same thing day after day. That’s because it’s hard to see the cumulative effects of our lives.
It’s like watching a tree grow. We think it looks the same every day. Then someone visits who has not been there in years. They exclaim, “Wow! That tree sure has grown tall.”
If we’re willing to continue doing what we know to do, then God will bring the harvest. But we need to press in despite the weariness.
If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.
2 Thessalonians 3:14-15
On the other hand, there will be those who, over time, start to ignore the exhortations of Scripture. We can’t allow our association with them to cause their attitudes to rub off on us.
Remember, they’re not our enemies. They’re brothers and sisters in Christ. We live an ordered life and hope it challenges them. And, if we’re in a relationship with them where they will listen to our advice, we can point them back to the truth.
It’s all about restoration. It’s not us trying to prove that we’re more spiritual or superior in holiness. We want God’s best for them. We want them to experience all of the blessings that Christ purchased for them.
That’s the spirit with which Paul closes his letter.
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
2 Thessalonians 3:16-18
This should be our overarching attitude. It’s the desire for peace among believers. We know that the world will never experience it apart from Christ. But for the church, that should be the distinguishing mark of the Holy Spirit in us.
Notice that Paul didn’t say, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with those who obey this letter.” On the contrary; his goal is to see God’s grace at work in all who profess Christ.
That should be the attitude of all believers.
Question: How have you encouraged others to live by the Word of God?
© 2018 Nick Zaccardi