dancing with God

SCRIPTURE: 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17

OBSERVATION/APPLICATION:

  1. As he talks about the crises of the end of the age (which we know now does not come about for 2000 years after Paul wrote this), Paul keeps his message rooted and relevant to that time period. He is writing about the end times, his main purpose is to encourage these young believers to stand firm in their faith, no matter what happens.
  2. Every person that accepted Paul’s message made him thankful. He saw it as evidence of God’s love and purpose in their lives. But what does this say about those who do not believe? Are they not loved by God? Sure they are! But God’s love, the work of the Spirit and the message of Jesus (the seed) did not find reception in good soil, and did not grow.
  3. Some people see a person coming to faith as 100% God’s work (predestination), and others see it as 100% person’s response (free will). Somehow neither seems right. Its 100% of both, and even though that may be illogical, that’s a sure sign its probably true. Did God choose me? YES! Did I choose God? YES! Somehow it all works together. The Bible does not provide a textbook explanation of these matters, it simply refers at one time to salvation from God’s side, and at other times from our side.
  4. If salvation was 100% God’s part only, then there would be no need to urge these young believers o “stand firm”, they would automatically do so if they were 100% chosen by God only.
  5. From our point of view, we must choose and stand firm and resist and believe and obey. But from God’s point of view this is impossible without God’s work in us. We give God the credit for all that is good in us, and we take responsibility for all that is wrong. It may not sound fair or logical, but it somehow fits together.
  6. If salvation was 100% God’s part only, then Paul would not need to pray this concluding blessing [16-17], since in fact if God started the work, He would finish it without Paul having to pray it. I see salvation and new life as a dance, initiated by God but accepted by us, two partners each contributing from themselves to make the dance happens. God contributes more (He’s the expert dancer, we have two left feet), but our contribution counts.
  7. I need to pray for this kind of encouragement and strength – eternal, enduring encouragement and strength, the kind that lasts and is not limited to circumstances. For myself and for those I relate to. Yes, we must stand firm, but we cannot do it without God’s encouragement and support. Yes, we must attempt to do what is good, but we cannot succeed without His strength.

PRAYER:
Lord, I need Your help, but I also need to be willing to receive it. I cannot figure out this whole “predestination” thing, but right now, that’s OK. All I know is that I need You, I want You, and I choose to seek and serve You.

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