Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our reading from 2 Thessalonians 1 was addressed to a church body in distress. There were some who were separating themselves from worldly affairs to wait idly for Jesus’ second coming. What does Paul commend in the Thessalonians? Their faith and love are growing. How can he tell? Faith and love are shown through the way we live in this life with one another. Paul sees the Thessalonians living out their faith and love as they endure persecution. He sees them caring for one another despite trouble and distress.
Though they could deny Christ and cause the persecution to stop, by caring for one another as Christians they can be assured that the persecution against them will spread. As long as there is a culture which attacks Christians, it will remain dangerous to show Christian care for anybody, especially for other Christians. What is our response in this world? Are we going to show our love and care for others? Are we going to stand for the truth of Christ in a world which is often hostile toward Christians?
Near the end of the chapter Paul prays that the Thessalonians’ lives would prove worthy of the loving care of God in Christ. They have been redeemed. They have received God’s mercy. Will their lives reflect this? Certainly not perfectly. Yet, as we love and serve our neighbor for Christ’s sake we reflect God’s grace.
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