November 29, 2023
What a crazy, chaotic world we live in! The news is filled with wars, upside-down moral conditions, disasters, killings, blood-shed, etc. — the list goes on and on.
While it is upsetting, it should not be surprising. The Scriptures tell us that as the end approaches, conditions will get worse and worse (Matthew 24, 2 Timothy 3).
As we consider the book of 2 Thessalonians, we learn unmistakably that our Lord Jesus Christ will return, but how do we deal with evil that is all around us? When evil seems to prevail, what should our mindset be? Paul gives necessary help for dark days.
We need to remember that evil will be punished. Judgment will fall on the wicked. God will ensure that His righteousness will prevail. “This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you” (2 Thessalonians 1:5-6).
A day will come when evil will be accounted for and wrongs will be made right. This requires deep faith on our part as we witness and sometimes experience hurtful atrocities. God is faithful (2 Thessalonians 3:3).
In the same vein, those who remain faithful will receive rest. Paul goes on to say, “And to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels” (2 Thessalonians 1:7).
This reminds us that God knows all that is happening. He cares about the hardship and affliction that His people experience and will ensure that when His Son returns relief, rest, and relaxation will be granted to His people.
While it may seem impossible now, this book ensures that good will prevail in the end. Jesus will be glorified. The text is clear: “when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed” (2 Thessalonians 1:10).
Our Savior, the Lord Jesus, who was so severely hurt by evildoers during His life and death, will on the day of His coming be vindicated, exonerated, and glorified. And not just Him, but us, you and me, with Him will also be glorified. This requires a lot of patience as we wait for God to act.
The main tactic of the enemy is deception. It always has been and always will be. Paul warns us to guard against deception. “Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
This is a sad reminder that before things get better, they are going to get worse. It is a foretelling of how desperate things will get during the tribulation period. The glorious day of His coming will happen, but before it does, the deceiver will have his way. Just ensure that you do not fall captive to his craftiness.
Our best defense against evil is to stand firm in the faith. “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word” (2 Thessalonians 2:15-17).
These traditions mentioned in the above text are not arbitrary, man-made traditions, but rather a reference to the apostles' clear teaching of Scripture, which produced wholesome behavior in the lives of God’s people. The truth of God will always stabilize the hearts of worried believers. This is our bedrock through the trials and unsettling problems of life.
Make prayer a constant practice. “Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one (2 Thessalonians 3:1-3).
The ear of God is always open to the cries of His people. Prayer is our lifeline to safety. 2 Thessalonians 3:1-3 is Paul’s request for prayer as he sought to proclaim the gospel. What an encouragement for us to seek the help of other believers and to share in the work God has given us to do.
Finally, as Paul closes, he boldly confirms that the Lord Jesus, the Lord of peace, will provide the peace we need as we anticipate His return. “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all” (2 Thessalonians 3:16).
The conscious presence of our Lord Jesus Christ will be the source of peace that we need for every trial. Continue to cultivate His peace as you anticipate the glorious return of your God and Savior!
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel