ENCOURAGED AND ESTABLISHED
In verse 17 Paul says, speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father, “Encourage your hearts and establish you in every good work and word.” If we want God to encourage us, we need to encourage ourselves. If we help ourselves, God will help us. But if we do not help ourselves, God will not help us. If you are not willing to eat the food on the dining table, others cannot help you. But if you eat, everyone will be willing to help you. This is an illustration of the fact that we need to encourage ourselves and establish ourselves, and then God will encourage and establish us.
PRAYING FOR THE MINISTERS OF THE WORD
In 3:1 Paul says, “For the rest, brothers, pray concerning us, that the word of the Lord may run and be glorified, even as it is also with you.” For the word of the Lord to be glorified is for the divine riches contained in the word of the Lord to be released and expressed in the believers’ living. We all need to learn how to let the word of the Lord run and how to cause the word of the Lord to be glorified in us.
Verse 2 says, “And that we may be delivered from improper and evil men; for not all hold the faith.” The ministers of the word of God need such a prayer for them by the saints.
GUARDED FROM THE EVIL ONE
In verse 3 Paul declares, “But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.” We are guarded by eternal encouragement and good hope (2:16-17). Only the eternal life can guard us from the evil one. The whole world lies in the evil one (1 John 5:19), but the divine life with which we have been born of God keeps and guards us from him (1 John 5:18, 4; 3:9). We have a part within us that has been regenerated, born of God. That part, which is actually the Lord Himself, always guards us.
THE APOSTLES’ CONFIDENCE
In verse 4 Paul goes on to say, “We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that what we charge, you both are doing and will do.” The charge here is like those in 1 Thessalonians 4:2-4, 9-12; 5:11-22; 2 Thes. 2:2, 15; 3:6, 10, 12-15.
THE LORD DIRECTING THE BELIEVERS’ HEARTS
In verse 5 Paul concludes, “And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the endurance of Christ.” The Lord directs our hearts by the leading of the Spirit, through whom the love of God has been poured out into our hearts (Rom. 8:14; 5:5). The love of God in this verse is our love toward God that issues from the love of God (1 John 4:19) that has been poured out into our hearts. On the positive side, we need to enjoy the love of God so that we may love Him in order to live for Him. On the negative side, we need to participate in the endurance of Christ so that we may endure the sufferings as He did to stand against Satan, the enemy of God.
In 2:13—3:5 Paul once again touches faith, love, and hope. This indicates that 2 Thessalonians is a continuation of 1 Thessalonians. This portion of 2 Thessalonians is a conclusion of Paul’s writings to new believers concerning the basic structure of the Christian life for the church life. As we have pointed out, this basic structure includes faith, love, and hope. By faith we have been saved into sanctification. We have been called unto the obtaining of the Lord’s glory, and we have eternal encouragement, which is eternal life, and also good hope in grace. Now according to 3:5, we need the Lord to direct our hearts into the love of God and into the endurance of Christ.
(Life-Study of 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 28, by Witness Lee)