2 Thessalonians 2:13
But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brothers beloved of the Lord, because God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) But we are bound.—This may be called a recurrence to the subject dropped at 2Thessalonians 1:3. The pronoun is somewhat emphatic. It might have seemed more natural to have sharpened the contrast between the Thessalonian Christians and the unhappy people just mentioned by beginning “But you.” It is, however, part of St. Paul’s delicacy of sympathy to describe rather the effect upon himself and his two companions of observing that contrast. He sets himself to work the contrast out.

Beloved of the Lord.—Precisely the same phrase as in 1Thessalonians 1:4, except for the substitution of “the Lord” for “God,” which shows the concurrence of the Eternal Son in His Father’s predestinations. As in the former passage, the tense (“who have been loved”) makes the reader think of the everlasting duration of that love (Jeremiah 31:3), and is again connected with the mystery of election.

“O love, who ere life’s earliest dawn

On me thy choice hast gently laid.”

Hath . . . chosen.—The Greek tense should be rendered by chose, referring to the definite moment (so to speak) in the divine counsels when the choice was fixed. This moment is defined as “from the beginning,” i.e., from the eternity preceding the origin of time, called by the same name in Genesis 1:1, John 1:1, and 1John 1:1. It does not simply mean “from the outset,” i.e., from the moment of first thinking at all about you. The identical phrase is said not to occur again in St. Paul. It may be noticed that there is a striking various-reading in some of the MSS., involving the change of only one letter, which would give us (instead of “chose you from the beginning”) “chose you as firstfruits.” Comp. James 1:18; but the reading in the text is better supported.

To salvation.—This “salvation” is in contrast with the “destruction” (2Thessalonians 1:9), “perdition” (2Thessalonians 2:3), or “perishing” (2Thessalonians 2:10), all of which represent the same word in the Greek. Out of the wreck of a world, God had from eternity chosen these Thessalonians to come off safely.

Through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.—This again teaches us the apostolic idea of election. It is not an absolute irreversible predestination to a particular state of happiness on which the elect is to enter after death. The “salvation” is present, begun in this life (Ephesians 2:5; Ephesians 2:8), and carried on along fixed lines, namely, “in sanctification of spirit and belief of truth” (such is the literal rendering). The preposition “in” has here the same force as in 1Thessalonians 4:4; 1Thessalonians 4:7, namely, by way of,” “by a course of.” If, therefore, God chose the Thessalonian Christians to salvation by a course of sanctification and belief, one thing, at any rate, is clear: that if any of them should leave that course, and fall into the errors and sins denounced in the foregoing verses, then, in the Apostle’s mind, they would have forfeited their salvation, in spite of God’s choice of them. Consequently, we are forced to one of two theories: either that the man has no free will at all, the moral character of his actions depending as entirely upon God as his final destiny; or else, that the man is free, and that God singles him out to enjoy special opportunities of sanctification and of correct belief, which the man may accept or reject as he pleases. The first of these theories lies open to the question, why, if God is responsible for the moral character of the actions of His elect and for their belief, He does not sanctify them at once and completely, and make each one infallible in doctrine; but, in any case, lax morality or creed is as incompatible with the hope of a Calvinist as with that of an orthodox Christian. “Sanctification of spirit” seems to mean “spiritual sanctification:” an inward process, not merely outward change of conduct. This is, of course, wrought by the action of the Holy Spirit upon our spirits; but the omission of the definite article in the Greek is difficult to explain if the “spirit” mentioned be other than the spirit acted upon. “Belief of truth” is opposed to “believing the lie,” of 2Thessalonians 2:11 : acceptation of facts as they are, especially the deep facts of revelation, is always the great means of sanctification in Holy Scripture (John 17:17).

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14. But, &c. — Here he proceeds to comfort them against the terrors of the preceding prophecy; we are bound to give thanks always for you — As if he had said, I do not mean that ye believers at Thessalonica will be concerned either in this revolt against God, or in the punishment thereof; brethren, beloved of the Lord — Brethren in Christ through your believing in him, and therefore peculiarly beloved of God; because God hath from the beginning — Of your hearing and obeying the gospel; chosen you to salvation — Hath pardoned, accepted, and made you his chosen people and dear children, as he hath all who, hearkening to the call of his word, truly turn to him in repentance, faith, and new obedience; through sanctification of the Spirit — Through that renovation of mind and heart, and reformation of life, which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s influences; and belief of the truth — By the instrumentality of which the Spirit works that important change in mankind. Whereunto — To which belief of the truth, and sanctification of the Spirit, or to which faith and holiness; he called you by our gospel — And inclined and enabled you to obey the call; to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ — The glory which he hath, 1st, Purchased, Ephesians 1:14; Ephesians 2 d, Promised, John 10:28; John 3 d, Prayed for, John 17:14; John 4 th, Prepared, and will bestow, John 14:2-3 : the very same glory which Christ himself now possesses, Romans 8:17; Revelation 3:21.2:13-15 When we hear of the apostacy of many, it is a great comfort and joy, that there is a remnant according to the election of grace, which does and shall persevere; especially we should rejoice, if we have reason to hope that we are of that number. The preservation of the saints, is because God loved them with an everlasting love, from the beginning of the world. The end and the means must not be separated. Faith and holiness must be joined together as well as holiness and happiness. The outward call of God is by the gospel; and this is rendered effectual by the inward working of the Spirit. The belief of the truth brings the sinner to rely on Christ, and so to love and obey him; it is sealed by the Holy Spirit upon his heart. We have no certain proof of any thing having been delivered by the apostles, more than what we find contained in the Holy Scriptures. Let us then stand fast in the doctrines taught by the apostles, and reject all additions, and vain traditions.But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you; - see the notes on 2 Thessalonians 1:3. "Because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation." The following important things are affirmed or implied here:

(1) That God had chosen or elected them (εἵλετο heileto) to salvation. The doctrine of election, therefore, is true.

(2) that this was from "the beginning" ἀπ ̓ ἀρχῆς ap' archēs; that is, from eternity; see the John 1:1 note; Ephesians 1:4; Ephesians 3:9-11 notes. The doctrine of eternal election is, therefore, true.

(3) that this was the choice of the persons to whom Paul referred. The doctrine of personal election is, therefore, true.

(4) that this is a reason for thanksgiving. Why should it not be? Can there be any higher ground of praise or gratitude than that God has chosen us to be eternally holy and happy, and that he has from eternity designed that we should be so? Whatever, therefore, may be the feelings with which those who are not chosen to salvation, regard this doctrine, it is clear that those who have evidence that they are chosen should make it a subject of grateful praise. They can have no more exalted source of gratitude than that they are chosen to eternal life.

Through sanctification of the Spirit - Being made holy by the Divine Spirit. It is not without respect to character, but it is a choice to holiness and then to salvation. No one can have evidence that he is chosen to salvation except as he has evidence that he is sanctified by the Spirit; see the notes on Ephesians 1:4.

And belief of the truth - In connection with believing the truth. No one who is not a believer in the truth can have evidence that God has chosen him.

13. But—In delightful contrast to the damnation of the lost (2Th 2:12) stands the "salvation" of Paul's converts.

are bound—in duty (2Th 1:3).

thanks … to God—not to ourselves, your ministers, nor to you, our converts.

beloved of the Lord—Jesus (Ro 8:37; Ga 2:20; Eph 5:2, 25). Elsewhere God the Father is said to love us (2Th 2:16; Joh 3:16; Eph 2:4; Col 3:12). Therefore Jesus and the Father are one.

from the beginning—"before the foundation of the world" (Eph 1:4; compare 1Co 2:7; 2Ti 1:9); in contrast to those that shall "worship the beast, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Re 13:8). Some of the oldest manuscripts read as English Version, but other oldest manuscripts and Vulgate read, "as first-fruits." The Thessalonians were among the first converts in Europe (compare Ro 16:5; 1Co 16:15). In a more general sense, it occurs in Jas 1:18; Re 14:4; so I understand it here including the more restricted sense.

chosen you—The Greek, is not the ordinary word for "elected," implying His eternal selection; but taken for Himself, implying His having adopted them in His eternal purpose. It is found in the Septuagint (De 7:7; 10:15).

through—rather as Greek, "in sanctification" as the element in which the choice to salvation had place (compare 1Pe 1:2), standing in contrast to the "unrighteousness," the element in which Antichrist's followers are given over by God to damnation (2Th 2:12).

of the Spirit—wrought by the Spirit who sanctifies all the elect people of God, first by eternally consecrating them to perfect holiness in Christ, once for all, next by progressively imparting it.

belief of the truth—contrasted with "believed not the truth" (2Th 2:12).

The apostle here exempts these Thessalonians out of the number of those reprobates that he had before spoken of, and speaks of them as such as should be preserved from apostacy in faith or practice, and obtain salvation. And this he mentions for comfort to them, and with thanksgivings to God. He had often before given thanks for them, 1 Thessalonians 1:2 2:13 3:9; and in 2 Thessalonians 1:3; and both here and there mentions it as a debt he was bound unto, or a duty he owed, we ought to give thanks, as in the Greek. And here he styles them, not only

brethren, as often before, but beloved of the Lord, such as have been and are beloved; and therefore not in the number of them that should be damned, mentioned in the former verse.

Because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation: which words are either to give the reason of the apostle’s thanksgivings, or rather all arguments to evidence they were beloved of the Lord. And he instanceth in their election as a proof of it. There is an election to office, as David to be king, 2 Samuel 6:21, and Judas to be an apostle, John 6:70; and election to a visible church, and means of salvation, and thus the seed of Abraham were chosen, Deu 26:18 Psalm 135:4 Psalm 147:19; and election to salvation, as in the text; which is either that which follows faith, as some understand that place, Matthew 22:14, or rather that which goes before it, said here to be from the beginnning: not from the beginning of the gospel, as some say; nor from the beginning of our preaching to you, or of your effectual calling, as others say; no, nor yet is it meant from the beginning of the world, which was the beginning of time; or immediately upon Adam’s fall: but by beginning is here meant eternity itself, as election is said to be from before the foundation of the world, Ephesians 1:4, which is from eternity. Though beginning seems to relate to time, yet the Scriptures often express eternity by such words as relate to time: as when God is called the Ancient of days, Daniel 7:9, it signifies his eternity; and Jude speaks of some that were of old ordained to condemnation, Judges 1:4, palai progegrammenoi, God’s eternal decrees being compared to a book wherein names are written. When was their ordaining but from eternity? And it is election to salvation, complete salvation, which is here meant, in the full fruition of it; not in the title to it by faith, or the first-fruits of it in sanctification, because they are here mentioned as the means that tend to it.

Through sanctification of the Spirit: election is to the means as well as the end, as Ephesians 1:4. Holiness is not the cause of God’s election, but God hath decreed it to be the way to salvation; without holiness none shall ever see the Lord, Hebrews 12:14.

And belief of the truth: and therefore those were spoken of as persons to be damned who believed not the truth, in the former verse. And so it is evident, election is not upon the foresight of faith, it is through it we have salvation, but not election: but of this before, 1 Thessalonians 4:1-18. And the apostle joins sanctification and faith together, for they are not and cannot be put asunder. Now by all this the apostle proves they were beloved of the Lord. He saw the fruits of election in their sanctification and belief of the truth, thence concludes they were elected, and therefore loved. But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you,.... Lest the saints should be discouraged by the above account of antichrist, and his followers, and fear they should be left to the same deceptions, and damnation be their portion; the apostle being persuaded better things of them, gives their character, and represents their case in a quite different light; and signifies, that he and his fellow ministers were under obligation to be continually thankful to God for what he had done for them; for as God is the Father of mercies, whether spiritual or temporal, thanks are to be given to him; and saints are not only to bless his name for what they themselves receive from him, but for what others enjoy also, and that continually; because spiritual blessings, especially such as are afterwards instanced in, are permanent and durable, yea, everlasting: the characters which show them to be different from the followers of antichrist, are

brethren, beloved of the Lord or "of God", as the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions read: they were the brethren of Christ, being the dear children of God, born of him, and belonging to his family, and of the apostles, and of one another, being of the household of faith; and they were beloved by God the Father, as the instances of their election to salvation by him, and their calling to eternal glory, show; and by the Lord Jesus Christ, who had wrought out for them the salvation they were chosen to; and by the Lord the Spirit, by whom they were regenerated, called, sanctified, and brought to the belief of the truth; and since they had interest in the everlasting love of the three divine Persons, there was no danger of their falling away and perishing. The reason of the apostle's thanksgiving for the persons thus described is,

because God hath from, the beginning chosen you to salvation; which is to be understood, not of an election of them, as a nation, for they were not a nation, only a part of one; nor of them as a church, for they were not so from the beginning; nor to the outward means of grace, the ministry of the word and ordinances, for the choice is unto salvation; nor to any office, for they were not all officers in the church, only some; nor does it intend the effectual calling, for that is distinguished from it in the following verse; but an eternal appointment of persons to grace and glory: and this is an act of God the Father, in Christ, from eternity; and which arises from his sovereign good will and pleasure, and is an instance of his free grace and favour, for the glorifying of himself; and is irrespective of the faith, holiness, and good works of men; all which are the fruits and effects, and not the motives, conditions, or causes of electing grace. This act is the leading one to all other blessings of grace, as justification, adoption, calling, and glorification, and is certain and immutable in itself, and in its effects. The date of it is "from the beginning": not from the beginning of the preaching of the Gospel to them, and the sense be, that, as soon as the Gospel was preached, they believed, and God chose them; for what was there remarkable in them, that this should be peculiarly observed of them? The Bereans are said to be more noble than they were: nor from the beginning of their calling, for predestination or election precedes calling; see Romans 8:30 nor from the beginning of time, or of the creation of the world, but before the world began, even from eternity; and in such sense the phrase is used in Proverbs 8:23 and that it is the sense of it here, is manifest from Ephesians 1:4 where this choice is said to be before the foundation of the world. The end to which men, by this act, are chosen, is "salvation": not temporal, though the elect of God are appointed to many temporal salvations and deliverances, and which they enjoy both before and after conversion; yet salvation here designs the salvation of the soul, though not exclusive of the body, a spiritual and an eternal salvation, salvation by Jesus Christ, as is expressed in 1 Thessalonians 5:9 and the same decree that appoints men to salvation, appoints Christ to be the Saviour of them; and there is salvation in and by no other. The means through which this choice is made, are

through sanctification of the spirit, and belief of the truth by sanctification is meant, not anything external, as reformation of life, obedience to the law, or outward submission to Gospel ordinances; but internal holiness, which lies in a principle of spiritual life in the soul, and in a principle of spiritual light on the understanding; in a flexion of the will to the will of God, and the way of salvation by Christ; in a settlement of the affections on divine and spiritual things, and in an implantation of all grace in the heart; and is called the sanctification of "the spirit", partly from the spirit or soul of man being the principal seat of it, and chiefly from the Spirit of God being the author of it; and this being a means fixed in the decree of election to salvation, shows that holiness is not the cause of election, yet is certain by it, and is necessary to salvation; and that the doctrine of election is no licentious doctrine, since it provides for and secures true and real holiness. "Truth" designs either the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the truth of types and promises, and the substance of the truth of the Gospel, in whom it lies, and by whom it comes; or the Gospel itself, which comes from the God of truth, lies in the Scriptures of truth, is dictated and directed into by the spirit of truth; the sum of it is Christ the truth, and has nothing in it but truth. The "belief" or "faith" of this intends, not an historical faith, or a mere assent to truth; but a cordial embracing of it, a receiving of the love of the truth, a feeling of the power of it unto salvation, and a believing in Christ, the substance of it; which is a seeing of him spiritually, and a going out of the soul to him in acts of hope; reliance, trust, and dependence; and this being also a means settled in the choice of men to salvation, makes it appear, that faith is no cause of election, but the effect of it; that it is necessary to salvation, and therefore appointed as a means; that it is certain to the elect by it, and that they therefore cannot be finally and totally deceived, or be carried away with the error of the wicked, or with the deceivableness of unrighteousness with which antichrist works.

{10} But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through {p} sanctification of the Spirit and {q} belief of the truth:

(10) The elect will stand steadfast and safe from all these mischiefs. Now election is known by these testimonies: faith is increased by sanctification: faith, by that which we grant to the truth; truth, by calling, through the preaching of the Gospel: from where we come at length to a certain hope of glorification.

(p) To sanctify you.

(q) Faith which does not lay hold upon lies, but upon the truth of God, which is the Gospel.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Thessalonians 2:13. Ἡμεῖς δέ] but we, namely, I, Paul, together with Silvanus and Timotheus, in contrast to the persons described in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12.

ὀφείλομεν] denotes here, as in 2 Thessalonians 2:13, the subjective obligation, an internal impulse.

ἀδελφοὶ ἠγαπημένοι ὑπὸ κυρίου] comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:4. The κύριος here is Christ, because τῷ Θεῷ directly precedes and ὁ Θεός directly follows, consequently another subject was evidently thought on by the apostle.

ὅτι εἵλατο ὑμᾶς κ.τ.λ.] the material object of εὐχαριστεῖν for the purpose of a further statement of the personal object περὶ ὑμῶν, that, namely, etc.

αἱρεῖσθαι] in the sense of divine election (Deuteronomy 26:18; Deuteronomy 7:6-7; Deuteronomy 10:15), does not elsewhere occur with Paul. He uses ἐκλέγεσθαι (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Corinthians 1:27-28), or προγινώσκειν (Romans 8:29; Romans 11:2), or προορίζειν (Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:11). αἱρεῖσθαι is found in Php 1:22 in the related sense of “to choose between two objects the preferable.”

ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς] from the beginning, i.e. from eternity. Comp. 1 John 1:1; 1 John 2:13. The following forms are analogous: ἀπὸ τῶν αἰώνων, Ephesians 3:9; ἀπὸ τῶν αἰώνων καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν γενεῶν, Colossians 1:26; πρὸ τῶν αἰώνων, 1 Corinthians 2:7; πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου, Ephesians 1:4; πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων, 2 Timothy 1:9. Others, as Vorstius and Krause, interpret ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς of the beginning of the publication of the gospel, so that the Thessalonians were reckoned as the first who embraced the gospel in Macedonia. But this does not suit εἵλατο, for the election on the part of God belongs to the region of eternity; the calling (2 Thessalonians 2:14) is its realization in time. Besides, an addition would be necessary to ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς, as Php 4:15 proves, ἐν ἀρχῇ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου. Lastly, the objection of Vorstius: “absurdum est, per principium intelligere aeternitatem, quippe in qua nullum est principium,” overlooks the fact that ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς is nothing more than a popular expression.[67]

εἰς σωτηρίαν] is by Flatt referred to salvation in this life, whilst he considers included therein the forgiveness of sins, the assurance of God’s peculiar love, and the freedom from the dominion of sinful inclinations. Incorrect on this account, because the σωτηρία of the Thessalonians is in undeniable contrast with the condemnation of the ungodly (2 Thessalonians 2:12), and thus likewise must be referred to the result to be expected at the advent of Christ, accordingly must denote eternal salvation.

ἐν ἁγιασμῷ πνεύματος καὶ πίστει ἀληθείας] belongs neither to σωτηρίαν alone (Koppe, Flatt, Schott, Baumgarten-Crusius, Hofmann, Riggenbach), nor to εἵλατο alone (de Wette), but to the whole idea εἵλατο εἰς σωτηρίαν, and states the means by which the election, which has taken place to eternal salvation, was to be realized.[68] To assume, with de Wette, that ἐν is placed for ΕἸς, and to find the next aim denoted by ἐν ἁγιασμῷ κ.τ.λ., is unmaintainable. For if ΕἸς ΣΩΤΗΡΊΑΝ and ἘΝ ἉΓΙΑΣΜῷ were co-ordinates, then (1) ΕἸς ΣΩΤΗΡΊΑΝ, because the highest aim, would be put not in the first, but in the second place; and (2) the sudden transition from a preposition of motion to one of rest would be inexplicable. ΠΝΕῦΜΑ is not the spirit of man, to which the being sanctified was to be referred (genitive of the object: “by the improvement of the spirit,” Koppe, Krause, Schott), but the Holy Spirit, from whom the sanctification of the whole man is to proceed, or by whom it is to be effected (genitive of origin). Accordingly it is also evident wherefore the apostle mentions the belief in the Christian truth only after ἁγιασμός, although otherwise the sanctification of man follows only on his reception of the divine word. For Paul considers a twofold means of the realization of the divine election—first, the influence of the Holy Spirit upon man, and secondly, man’s own reception. But the former already precedes the latter.

[67] Also Schrader’s assertion, that the author (the pseudo-Paul) betrays by ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς “that he considered the time when the gospel was first preached in Thessalonica as already long past,” has no meaning according to the above.

[68] In a manner entirely incorrect, and with a mistake of the actual use of the preposition ἐν narrowing its meaning, Hofmann objects—and Möller should not have followed him—against the above interpretation, that then the means would be taken for the Acts of the election itself.

2 Thessalonians 2:13-17. Exhortation to the readers to hold fast to the Christianity delivered to them (2 Thessalonians 2:15), grounded on the comfortable fact that they belonged not to those who perish, but were fore-ordained by God to salvation, and called to it by the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14), and united with a pious wish that Christ and God Himself would comfort their minds, and strengthen them to all goodness (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).

2 Thessalonians 2:13 to 2 Thessalonians 3:15. Hortatory portion of the Epistle.2 Thessalonians 2:13. God has chosen you (εἵλατο, another LXX expression, implying that Christians had now succeeded to the cherished priviliges of God’s people) to be saved, instead of visiting you with a deadly delusion (10, 11) which ends in judgment (12); your discipline is of sanctification (contrast 12b) and belief in what is true (contrast 11, 12a), these forming the sphere and the scope (cf. 1 Timothy 2:15, and for ἐν ἁγιασμῷ in this sense Ps. Sol. 17:33) for salvation being realised. Those who are sanctified and who truly believe shall be saved. Cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:14 and Apoc. Bar., liv. 21: “in fine enim saeculi uindicta erit de iis qui improbe egerunt, iuxta improbitatem eorum, et glorificabis fideles iuxta fidem eorum”.—πνεύματος may be either (a) = “wrought by the (holy) Spirit” (cf. 1 Peter 1:2), the divine side of the human πίστει, or (b) = “of the spirit” (cf. I. 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Corinthians 7:1), as of the heart (I., 1 Thessalonians 3:13). The absence of the article is not decisive against the former rendering, but the latter is the more probable in view of the context; the process of ἁγιασμός involves a love of the truth and a belief in it (i.e., in the true gospel) which is opposed to religious delusions (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:2).13. But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you] Comp. ch. 2 Thessalonians 1:3, and notes. The strain of the opening thanksgiving of the two Epistles is here blended. For while this clause repeats the first words of 2Th, the sentence that follows echoes 1 Thessalonians 1:4.

Here the subject, we, bears emphasis: “we, with this sad prospect of apostasy and delusion in view.” Those who see deeply into the evil of the world, its immense power and untold possibilities, turn with the greater satisfaction to that which “speaks better things.”

brethren beloved by the Lord (R.V.) is parallel to “beloved by God” (1 Thessalonians 1:4 : see note).

“The Lord” is surely Christ, as distinguished from “God” in the adjoining clauses. The Church assailed by persecution, and appalled by the thought of Antichrist, finds in the love of Christ her refuge (comp. Romans 8:35; Romans 8:39). To the same Divine Protector the Apostle commits his “brethren,” so dear to him (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17; ch. 2 Thessalonians 3:3; 2 Thessalonians 3:5). He recalls in this expression the blessing pronounced on Benjamin, his own tribe, in Deuteronomy 33:12 : “The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him; He covereth him all the day long, and he dwelleth between His shoulders.” The two phrases correspond precisely in the Greek.

because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation] Better, in that God chose you; see note on ch. 2 Thessalonians 1:3.

These words are partly borrowed from Deuteronomy 7:6-7; Deuteronomy 10:15; Deuteronomy 26:18 : “Thou art a holy people unto the Lord thy God. He hath chosen you to be a peculiar people unto Himself … He set His love upon yon;” &c.

The Apostle’s thanksgivings in the First Epistle centred in the fact of the “election” of the Thessalonian believers in Christ. (See note on election, 1 Thessalonians 1:4; and context.) To this his grateful thoughts now revert. God deals with them far otherwise than He will do with those to whom He “sends effectual delusion … that they may be judged” (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12): He “chose you for salvation … not for wrath” (1 Thessalonians 5:9). How safe and high above fear are “God’s elect” (Romans 8:33-39)!

“From the beginning” points to the time when the Gospel first visited the Thessalonians; so the “election” of 1 Thessalonians 1:4 is associated with the “coming of our gospel to you” (1 Thessalonians 1:5; 1 Thessalonians 1:9). Then it was that, practically and in human view, God chose this people—i.e. selected them for His own out of the world in which they moved. In later Epistles this “beginning” is traced back, on its Divine side, to “the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4, &c.), and shown to be a part of that which was absolutely “from the beginning” (comp. 1 John 1:1). There is an absolute beginning of salvation, hidden in the nature and eternal counsels of God; this is its relative, historical and manifest beginning (comp. Php 4:15; Acts 15:7).

And this choice is “unto salvation,” in the utmost sense of the word, extended in 2 Thessalonians 2:14 to “the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ;” comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:9 (see note).

This salvation rests on God’s election; at the same time it has its human conditions: salvation (experienced) in sanctification of spirit and faith in the truth. God chooses none to salvation apart from these qualifications; the end implies the way. It is believing and sanctified men who wear “for a helmet the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:8). Comp. 1 Peter 1:2 : “Elect … in sanctification of spirit” (or the Spirit).

“Chosen unto salvation” stands in contrast with “son of perdition” and “the perishing” (2 Thessalonians 2:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:10); “sanctification of spirit” and “belief in truth” on the part of God’s elect, with the “pleasure in unrighteousness” and “belief in the lie” that mark the dupes of Antichrist. These are the moral preconditions of final salvation and perdition respectively.

St Paul writes sanctification of spirit, without the definite article. No doubt “spirit” may grammatically denote “the (Holy) Spirit,” but the Apostle can scarcely have so intended here. For (1) the intimate connection of this phrase with “belief of truth” inclines us to read the two (Greek) genitives alike—“truth” being the object of “faith,” and “spirit” of “sanctification.” (2) “Your spirit” is the primary object of the sanctification prayed for in 1 Thessalonians 5:23. That memorable prayer is probably in the mind both of writer and readers. (3) “Sanctification of spirit,” understood as an inward state of the Thessalonians, is a condition of “salvation” the opposite of the disposition described in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 as marking “those who perish” at the coming of Antichrist. For this reason sanctification is put first; but it depends in turn upon faith,—“belief in the truth.” See Acts 26:18; Ephesians 1:13. The normal order therefore is that of 1 Timothy 2:15, “in faith and sanctification.”—For sanctification, see note to 1 Thessalonians 4:3.

Lit., belief of truth. The Apostle is not stating what the truth is that saves, but that it is truth which saves, and faith in it as truth. A truth-accepting faith is the root of salvation, while the disposition to “believe the lie” is the root of perdition (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). “Sanctify them in the truth,” prayed Jesus for His disciples; “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). The trustful acceptance of the truth revealed by Christ brings with it the consecration of our spirit to God. In such faith and consecration our salvation lies.

Section IV. Words of Comfort and Prayer

Ch. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 to 2 Thessalonians 3:5Passing from the last Section, we breathe a sigh of relief, and gladly join in thanksgiving for those who will “prevail to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).

Under the solemn feelings awakened by his contemplation of the image of Antichrist, the Apostle turns to his readers, blending thanksgiving with exhortation and renewed prayer on their account. (1) He renders thanks to God Who had chosen and called them to salvation, 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; (2) he urges them to be steadfast, 2 Thessalonians 2:15; (3) he prays that God’s love may be their comfort, 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17. In turn he (4) requests their prayers for himself, ch. 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2; (5) he assures them of God’s faithfulness, and of his own confidence in them, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; and (6) prays once more for Divine guidance on their behalf, 2 Thessalonians 2:5.2 Thessalonians 2:13. Ημεῖς δέ, but we) Comfort after the prediction of mournful events. So 2 Timothy 2:19. It may be said, What need was there of comfort at that time to the Thessalonians? Ans. The mystery of iniquity was even then in operation; and instruction may be equally derived from the distant future, as from the remote past, 1 Corinthians 10:1, et seqq.—ὀφείλομεν, we are bound) ch. 2 Thessalonians 1:3.—ὑπὸ Κυρίου, by the Lord) Christ.—εἳλετοἀπʼ ἀρχῆς) He does not say ἐξελέξατο, but in this one place, and on this subject, he uses εἳλετο. That effect was produced by the success of evangelical calling; and yet there is added, from the beginning, i.e. from eternity, comp. 1 John 1:1, because believers are fortified and claimed as such by the eternal decree, Ephesians 1:4, in opposition to those who worship the Man of Sin, Revelation 13:8. Comp. Deuteronomy 7:7; Deuteronomy 10:15, προείλετο Κύριος ὑμᾶς καὶ ἐξελέξατο, the Lord preferred and chose you, etc. Ibid. Deuteronomy 26:18, האמירך, has avouched (εἵλετο, has taken to Himself) thee this day to be His peculiar (περιούσιον) people. The decree is truly from eternity, as truly as the generation of the Son of God is from eternity: yet the decree is one thing, the generation is another.[21]—ἐν ἁγιασμῷ Πνεύματος, in sanctification of the Spirit) The Holy Spirit sanctifies us, and sanctification is the test of election, 1 Peter 1:2.

[21] Just as God’s decree and His eternal adoption of believers are distinct things.—ED.Verse 13. - But; this may be considered as a simple particle of transition, or as containing a contrast to these alluded to in the previous verses. I thank God that you are not exposed to the delusions of the man of sin and to the destruction of his followers. We. By some restricted to Paul, and by others as including Silas and Timotheus (2 Thessalonians 1:1). Are bound to give thanks alway to God. Notwithstanding the disorders which had arisen in the Church of Thessalonica, Paul had abundant reason to thank God for his great grace vouchsafed to the Thessalonians, in retaining them in the gospel, and in enabling them to abound in faith and love. For you, brethren beloved of the Lord; that is, of Christ. In the former Epistle he calls them "beloved of God" (1 Thessalonians 1:4), here "of Christ;" one of the numerous indirect proofs in these Epistles of the 1)trinity of Christ. Because God hath from the beginning. Some valuable manuscripts read, "because God hath chosen you as firstfruits," and this rendering has been adopted by several eminent expositors (Jowett, Hofmann, Riggenbach); but the preponderance of authorities is in favour of the reading in our A.V. The phrase, "from the beginning, does not denote "from the beginning' of the gospel," but "from eternity." The apostle refers the salvation of the Thessalonians to the eternal election of God. Chosen you to salvation - the final purpose of God's election. Through; or rather, in, denoting the elements in which the salvation consisted, or, which is the same thing, the state into which they were chosen. Sanctification of the Spirit - the Divine side - and belief of the truth - the human side of the element in which the salvation was realized. Hath chosen (εἵλατο)

The only case in N.T. in which this word is used of God's election. lxx, Deuteronomy 26:18, of God's choosing Israel to be his peculiar people. Comp. Philippians 1:22; Hebrews 11:25.

From the beginning (ἀπ' ἀρχῆς)

Not elsewhere in Paul. His usual expressions are πρὸ τῶν αἰώνων before the ages (1 Corinthians 2:7): πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4): ἀπὸ τῶν αἰώνων from the ages (Ephesians 3:9). Before eternal times (πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων) is found 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2.

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