PEACE FROM THE LORD OF PEACE
Verse 16 says, “Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace continually in every way. The Lord be with you all.” To keep the charge in verses 12 through 15 is to have peace from the Lord in every way. As long as disorder exists in a certain church, there cannot be peace there. In the church life we need to be at peace in everything, in every way, and with everyone. For this, we need the Lord of peace to give us peace continually in every way.
ENJOYING THE LORD AS GRACE
In verses 17 and 18 Paul concludes, “The greeting is by my hand, Paul, which is a sign in every letter. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.” It is only when the Lord is enjoyed by us as grace that we can keep the church life from any kind of misleading and disorderliness. Both to live a proper church life and to keep it in order, we need the enjoyment of the Lord as the supplying grace. Only by grace can we live a proper life for the church life.
A CLOSING WORD ON THE HOLY LIFE FOR THE CHURCH LIFE
We have emphasized the fact that the books of 1 and 2 Thessalonians are on a holy life for the church life. In these Epistles the words holy, sanctification, and sanctified are used repeatedly. In 1 Thessalonians 4:3 Paul says, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification.” It is God’s will that we be sanctified. In 1 Thessalonians 4:7 Paul goes on to say, “For God has not called us for uncleanness but in sanctification.” Then in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 Paul expresses the desire that the God of peace would sanctify us wholly. Verses such as these indicate that 1 Thessalonians is concerned with the believers’ living a holy life.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:13 we are told that God has chosen us unto salvation in sanctification of the Spirit. Here we see that salvation is carried out in sanctification. This means that to be sanctified is to experience God’s salvation in a practical way.
Both 1 and 2 Thessalonians are concerned with such a holy life, a life that is separated unto God and sanctified wholly by God and for God. This holy life is for the church life.
Some may wonder how we can prove from 1 and 2 Thessalonians that the holy life is for the church life. This can be proved by the fact that both of these Epistles are addressed to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. This indicates that Paul wrote to the Thessalonian believers on the subject of the holy life with the intention that they would live this kind of life for the church life.
The two Epistles to the Thessalonians also emphasize the basic structure of the Christian life, a structure composed of faith, love, and hope. Faith is the foundation, love is the building, and hope is the topstone. Again and again in these books, Paul speaks of faith, love, and hope. He encourages the believers to be established in these things. He also wants to foster their faith, love, and hope and to encourage the saints to grow in these things.
In order to experience the carrying out of salvation in sanctification and grow in the basic structure of the holy life for the church life, we need the eternal life as the eternal encouragement. We also need the Spirit as grace, and we need the grace itself. Therefore, it is by the eternal life as the eternal encouragement, by the Spirit as grace, and by grace itself as the processed Triune God that we live a holy life for the church life. This is the revelation in 1 and 2 Thessalonians.
(Life-Study of 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 31, by Witness Lee)