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Stand Firm May 19, 2013

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17.

Summary: Paul begins by extolling the grace of God, as He has shown His unmerited love for the Thessalonians; indeed, their salvation is founded on God’s eternal election, as He has:

  • sanctified them by His Spirit
  • enlightened them in the faith of His Gospel.

Moreover, God spoke to them – by committing the preaching of His Gospel to Paul – so that Christ would be glorified.

Paul then exhorts the Thessalonians to persevere in sound teaching – as they had been instructed by him:

  • in person
  • in his letters to them.

Paul concludes by praying that God the Father and God the Son – who have given him a constant supply of divine gifts of grace – would also sustain the hearts of the Thessalonians with divine comfort.

Thoughts: In verse 15, we see that Paul exhorts the Thessalonians to hold to the instructions that he had given them. Calvin offers some pointed thoughts on this verse:

Roman Catholic leaders are foolish to deduce from this that their traditions should be observed. They reason like this: “If it was right for Paul to command traditions to be followed, it is also right for other teachers to do the same. If it was a good and holy thing to observe the former, the latter should be observed as well.” Even if you say this refers to the external government of the church, I believe these teachings or traditions were not brought up by Paul but came from God himself.

I wonder if Calvin’s thoughts pertain to the debate over whether 1) God only commissioned apostles during the period when the New Testament was written or 2) God still commissions apostles today. If God still commissions apostles today, then it could be argued that some of these modern-day apostles are the “Roman Catholic leaders” that Calvin attacks – and so these leaders’ traditions should be observed. Now if God did not commission any apostles after He appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus, though, then Calvin’s thoughts must be carefully considered. It would be interesting to hear the Roman Catholic perspective on this debate, as it probably hinges on the interpretation of certain passages.

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