Tuesday after the Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 1:11—2:17 (NKJV)
1:11 Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, 12 that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2:1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.
7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
13 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, 14 to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. 16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.
Paul speaks from pastoral concern in today’s text and prays that God, Who has called, may foster and make fruitful the faith which His call has created, to the glory of the Lord. The imminent character of the coming of the Day of the Lord sometimes is misinterpreted to mean the Day of the Lord has already come, with the result that the responsible sobriety of Christian hope gives way to hysterical excitement and irresponsible idleness. This often manifests itself in sects that claim to know the day, hour, and second of Christ’s return.
In response to these types of anti-scriptural claims and ungodly behavior the apostle’s words of pastoral concern are intended to restore the hope of the Church throughout time to health and vigor. Paul speaks of the sequence of the terrible events which must precede the coming of the Day of the Lord. There will be a great rebellion headed by a figure who rebels so radically against God that he deifies himself, and therefore dooms himself. The hour will come, though, when this lawless one (antichrist) will be revealed, to work openly and freely—and to be judged and destroyed. In the meantime, Paul directs us to stand firm and hold to the apostolic teachings.
We pray: Lord God, we thank You that You have taught us what You would have us believe and do. Help us by Your Holy Spirit, for the sake of Jesus Christ, to hold fast Your Word in the regenerate spirit, that thereby we may be made strong in faith and perfect in holiness, and be comforted in life and death; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.