Pastor David B. Curtis


Media #1155 MP3 Audio File Video File

God Our Father

2 Thessalonians 1:1-2

Delivered 02/19/23

Good morning, Bereans. How would you describe the perfect church? Some might say that the messages need to be under 20 minutes and entertaining. The music has to suite my taste. There has to be a good children's ministry. The preacher has to teach what I think the Bible says. It has to be growing in numbers. It can't pressure me about giving. These things may be important to people today, but none of these is why Paul boasts about the Thessalonian Church.

The Thessalonian church wasn't perfect, no church is, but it is the only church in the New Testament that Paul presents as an example to other churches.

so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 1 Thessalonians 1:7 ESV
Therefore, we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God… 2 Thessalonians 1:4 ESV

What was it that made this church an example to others and caused Paul to boast about them?

And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 1 Thessalonians 1:6 ESV

They were living their lives in imitation of their Lord.

For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. 1 Thessalonians 1:8 ESV
We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore, we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4 ESV

This is a glowing evaluation; this church was growing in faith and love which caused them to be imitators of God. Which is something we are all commanded to do.

What causes a church to grow in faith and love? How can we increase our faith? There are two main factors which determine the strength of our faith. First is our knowledge of God. The main explanation of the troubles and difficulties which most Christians experience in their lives is due to a lack of knowledge about God (theology proper). We need to study the revelation that God has given of himself and of his character. That is how to develop strong faith. The more you know God the more you will trust Him.

So, faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17 ESV

Grammatically, the phrase, "the word of Christ," is an objective genitive and should be translated: "the word about Christ." You can only have faith in God if you know him, and you can only know him through the Word. We need to study the Word that we may know Him because it's hard to trust someone you don't know.

The second element is the application of what we know. A knowledge that never ventures out upon what it knows will never be a strong faith.

So, this church at Thessalonica was an amazing church. And this morning we are starting a verse-by-verse study through the book of 2 Thessalonians. I think it is important to work systematically through a whole book of Scripture so that you have a grasp of the whole message and how the different parts fit together to make the main points. This book only has three chapters, so it ranks as one of the smallest epistles of the New Testament.

I want to begin this morning with a quote from G.K. Beale. In his commentary on 1 Thessalonians, he wrote the following:

"In order to understand any biblical book or ancient writing, one must discover as much as possible about the situation addressed and the historical context. Who wrote the work? To whom was it written? Where and when was it written? Why was it written, and for what occasion was it written? Answers to these questions are difficult to discover for some biblical books, but when they are available, they generally provide crucial clues to solving interpretive problems."

I agree. Let's see if we can answer some of these questions. I will begin with some history. On their second missionary journey, Paul, Silas, and Timothy traveled through Phrygian and Galatian territories, but the Holy Spirit prevented them from continuing into the Province of Asia. During the night at Troas, Paul had a vision of a Macedonian man imploring him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." So, Paul went to Macedonia at once. It would be the first missionary effort into Europe.

Paul and his missionary team founded a Christian community in Philippi. Then after being beaten and imprisoned, they fled the city and made their way to Thessalonica.

Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. Acts 17:1 ESV

As they left Philippi, it appears that they just passed through Amphipolis, which was about thirty-three miles on down the coast. And then, they seem to have just passed through Apollonia, which was sixty-three miles away, and, finally, came to Thessalonica, which was about one hundred miles from Philippi.

And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, Acts 17:2 ESV

How long were Paul and his missionary team in Thessalonica? We really don't know for sure, but it seems to have been longer than three weeks. This seems like much more than a three-week task. In the expression, "Three Sabbaths," the "three" could have been used to indicate a complete ministry. In common use, "two" could mean a few, and "three" could convey a good many. Or it could have been three weeks. Why did they leave so soon?

But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. Acts 17:5 ESV
The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the Jewish synagogue. Acts 17:10 ESV

So, Paul continued his missionary journey by going to Berea. But he was soon driven from there, leaving Silas and Timothy behind to work with the new Christian community. He then traveled to Athens about 200 miles to the south and sent word back to Berea for Silas and Timothy to meet him there (Acts 17:14-15). When Silas and Timothy joined him in Athens, he sent Timothy back to Thessalonica to continue teaching the new believers because he was concerned about the new church. Paul and Silas continued to Corinth where Timothy rejoined them, bringing word that the Thessalonian Christians were bravely enduring persecution. It was Timothy's message from Thessalonica that would lead Paul to write to them from Corinth.

Paul most likely wrote his first letter to the Thessalonians from Corinth in A.D. 50/51. After hearing Timothy's report of their suffering, Paul became even more concerned about the community. He wrote a letter to commend and encourage them. Paul sent Timothy back with his first letter to them (1 Thessalonians), written six months to a year after Paul had left there.

When Timothy was sent back to Thessalonica with the first letter, it seems other questions were unresolved, or problems still existed that Timothy told Paul about when he returned again. And so, Paul wrote this second letter, probably a few months after 1 Thessalonians.

The city of Thessalonica: Thessalonica comes from the Greek word nike, meaning ‘victory'. It was a cosmopolitan metropolis similar to Corinth, inhabited by peoples from all over the known world. There were Barbaric Germanic peoples from the north who brought with them their pagan religion and culture. There were Greeks from Achaia to the south and from the islands of the Aegean Sea. All brought their own refinement and philosophy. There were Romans from the west who were mostly retired soldiers, and they brought their wealth and political power. And there were Jews who came in large numbers from the east so that eventually one-third of the population was Jewish. These Jews brought with them their ethical monotheistic faith and their national prejudices.

The town was filled with businessmen, travelers, and traders. The town was also inhabited by sailors. It was a booming place. A recently-excavated Roman forum unearthed a 400-seat indoor theater, a coin mint, a bath complex, about twenty shops, and storage rooms likely used for commerce. The pagan cults of Dionysius (god of wine) and the emperors (e.g., Augustus and Julius Caesar) were popular in the city.

The church seems to have been comprised of mostly Gentiles, evidenced by the absence of allusions to the Tanakh in either of the two epistles. In founding the church, Paul used the Tanakh in the synagogue but in writing to them he did not.

explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, "This Yeshua, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ." And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. Acts 17:3-4 ESV

Who is the "them" here? It is the Jews of verse 1. Some of the Jews were persuaded that Yeshua was the Christ. They believed Paul's words and put their faith in Yeshua. Not only Jews believed Paul's message but so did a "great many of the devout Greeks." "Devout" points to that class of monotheistic Gentiles who worshiped the God of Israel as the one God and respected the Old Covenant and the moral teaching of the Jews, attended synagogue, observed the Sabbath, and practiced the main requirements of Jewish piety.

DATE—The dates for Paul's writing of the Thessalonian letters are some of the most certain dates we have involving his letters. It is recorded that while Paul was in Corinth, he was arrested and brought before Gallio, the proconsul of Achaia. Most commentators date 1 and 2 Thessalonians in A.D. 50-51.

AUTHOR—Scholars agree that Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians. Only modern form critics have seriously doubted Paul's authorship and the authenticity of 1 Thessalonians, but their conclusions have not convinced many scholars.

THEME AND PURPOSE—Second Thessalonians was evidently prompted by three main developments in the report Paul received from most likely Timothy. He wrote: (1) to encourage them in view of the report of the increasing persecution which they were facing (1:4-5); (2) to deal with the reports of a pseudo-Pauline letter and other misrepresentations of his teaching regarding the day of the Lord and the rapture of the church (2:1f); and (3) to deal with the way some were responding to belief in the imminent return of the Lord. This belief was still being used as a basis for shirking their vocational responsibilities. [J. Hampton Keathley lll]

Persecution of the new converts was continuing, erroneous eschatological doctrine was being taught, and there were even some members of the community who were refusing to support themselves and were living on the generosity of other members.

In my opinion the largest theological contribution of 1 and 2 Thessalonians is in what they say about eschatology. Over a quarter of 1 Thessalonians and nearly half of 2 Thessalonians deal with problems and issues regarding the Parousia of Christ. 2 Thessalonians develops the eschatological themes of I Thessalonians. It is obvious that the Lord's return was prominent in Paul's mind.

We could contrast 1 and 2 Thessalonians by saying that Paul wrote the first epistle primarily to comfort the Thessalonians whereas he wrote the second epistle primarily to correct them.

Second Thessalonians 1:1-2 is a standard letter form of the first century. Verses 3-10 are one sentence in Greek. They describe Paul's confidence in the believers and confidence in God's judgment on the unbelievers. Let's look at the text.

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Christ:  2 Thessalonians 1:1 ESV

The letter begins with the naming of the missionary team that is writing it. Whenever the team is mentioned, Paul is the first one named.

"Paul"— He was formally known as Saul of Tarsus. He was first called Paul in Acts 13:9. It is probable that most Jews of the "diaspora" had a Hebrew name and a Greek name. The Greek name Paulos meant "little." Several theories have been advanced about the origin of his Greek name. The second-century tradition that Paul was short, fat, bald, bow-legged, bushy eye-browed, and had protruding eyes is a possible source of the name, deriving from a non-canonical book from Thessalonica called Paul and Thekla. [Thee-cla] I think we are all familiar with Paul and the fact that he wrote 13 of the New Testament letters.

"Silvanus"—this is the Roman equivalent of Silas, his Jewish name. He is called Silas in Acts and Silvanus in the Epistles. He was a Jewish Christian and a leading member of the church in Jerusalem. Paul sent him with Barsabbas to the church at Antioch with their letter welcoming all Gentile converts after the Council of Jerusalem. He was, like Paul, a Roman citizen. He is the co-sender in both of Paul's letters to the Thessalonians. He served as Peter's secretary, writing down Peter's words in 1 Peter to the universal Church.

"Timothy"—means "one who honors God." He was a trusted companion of Paul. He was born in Lystra in Asia Minor and was the son of a Jewish woman and Greek father. He was a member of Paul's second missionary journey who helped found Christian communities in Macedonia and Greece. Timothy was also a companion on Paul's third missionary team and was the co-sender for six of Paul's letters. Paul sent him as his representative to deliver letters to communities and to help settle disputes. Paul wrote two pastoral letters to Timothy when he was serving as the pastor at Ephesus. I think that the greatest thing that Paul says about Timothy is found in 1 Corinthians 4.

I urge you, then, be imitators of me. That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church. 1 Corinthians 4:16-17 ESV

Paul says, "I want you to imitate me, so here's Timothy." Timothy was a reproduction of Paul. Paul couldn't be there, so he sent Timothy who was just like him. Timothy is a model of what we all should be. We are all called to pattern our lives after Paul, who patterned his life after Yeshua.

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Christ:  2 Thessalonians 1:1 ESV

Do you notice anything that is missing from Paul's greeting to the church at Thessalonica that is present in the greeting of his letters to the Christian churches at Rome, Galatia, Corinth, Ephesus, and Colossae?

Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Yeshua, and our brother Sosthenes, To the church of God that is in Corinth 1 Corinthians 1:1-2 ESV

Paul does not announce his apostolic authority in his greeting. In the greeting of his letter to the Galatians, Paul announced that he wrote as an "apostle" of Christ and vigorously defended his claim to apostolic authority. He also announced his apostolic role in the greetings of most of his other letters. Apparently in Macedonia his apostleship was never in question. He wrote two letters to the Thessalonian church and one letter to the Philippian church, both in Macedonia. In none of those three letters did he identify himself as an apostle.

"To the church"—The etymology of the Greek word for church ekklēsia literally means "called-out ones," but it was widely used to refer to various assemblies of people, both religious and secular. The word ekklēsia must be understood against the background of the Greek Septuagint, where the word repeatedly refers to the gathered congregation of Israel. In this light, the Thessalonian church was part of the true Israelite congregation of God's people who had been established by Messiah Yeshua's latter-day redemptive work.

In the New Testament, it has special reference to the one body of Christ that began on the Day of Pentecost, consisting of born-again Jews and Gentiles. In the New Testament, "church" can be used to describe all Christians everywhere (the universal church) or a local congregation that is usually designated by the city in which the believers live.

I often get the question: "What promises of God are for us now?" That's a great question, one that we all should want to know the answer to. Most believers today would respond, "All of them." Have you ever heard the mantra that declares that every promise in the book is mine? People think this because they don't understand hermeneutics and audience relevance.

Paul is writing this letter to the church, particularly to the church located in Thessalonica. He is not writing it to us; we are reading someone else's mail. So, how do we know what applies to us and what does not? I said earlier that in the New Testament, "church" can be used to describe all Christians everywhere (the universal church) or a local congregation that is usually designated by the city in which the believers live. Every believer is part of the church universal. Therefore, when reading a letter to a local church, we need to seek to understand what part of it is specifically to the local assembly and what is applicable to the church universal. For example, look with me at Philippians 2.

I hope in the Lord Yeshua to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. Philippians 2:19 ESV

Is this specific to the local assemble or is it applicable to the universal church? Timothy is not coming to us shortly because he is dead. It has been two thousand years since Paul wrote this. The time indicator "soon" tells us that it doesn't apply to us.

Consider also these words of Paul to the Philippians.

I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. Philippians 4:2-3 ESV

Is this to us? No, Euodia and Syntyche are dead—as is Clement. This was very specific to the local situation. What we might apply from this text is the principle that Yahweh wants unity in the church. We see that throughout the New Testament. But what about Philippians 4:13?

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 ESV

Does this apply to us? While Paul is clearly talking about himself, the principle also applies to us if we are abiding in Christ. Most of the teaching that we find in the New Testament is directed to the Church and applies to all Christians in all times. This verse is usually removed from its context. Can we really do ALL things through Christ? Leap tall buildings at a single bound? Run faster that a bullet? Notice the context.

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. Philippians 4:11-12 ESV

Does this apply to us? Can we also deal with any circumstance if we are living in dependence on Christ? Yes, we can. This is a spiritual truth that applies to all believers who live in dependence upon Christ. But believers, although we can apply the spiritual truths that are given to the church to ourselves, the time and audience specific events are not for us.

Let me just add here that there are some full preterists who push the "audience relevance" principle (it was "written to them and not to us") to a hyper-application. In other words, they present the Bible as being merely history so that it lacks any present-day application to the believer.

Let me be clear that this full Preterist does not believe that the Bible is just history and lacks present-day application. I surely would not be constantly encouraging you to read it if it were not relevant to us. But I do believe the Bible was written to a certain audience. We are not that audience. We must first seek to understand what it meant to them so that we can then see if what is being taught also applies to us.

From my perspective, unless I have strong reasons not to, I apply the principles of the New Testament to believers today. For example, I think that we twenty-first century American Christians are to walk worthy. I think that we are to be humble, that we are to love one another, and that we are to put others before ourselves. To me these things apply to the Church universal and are therefore timeless. But there is much in the New Testament that does not apply to us because we do not live in the Transition Period.

When we understand the transition period, we will understand that we live in the age which was then "the age to come" and that many of the transition period problems do not apply to us. It is only when we know "what time it is" that we can know how the Bible is relevant to us. We are not looking for things we already have or trying to hold onto things that are past. Back to our text.

"To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Christ"—Referring to the church as "in God" rather than "of God" is unusual in Paul's writings. We should probably understand it in the same way as our being "in Christ," a favorite designation of Paul. It means that we are identified completely with Him.

Usually, Paul will address the saints and churches in terms of where they live.

To the church of God that is in Corinth… 1 Corinthians 1:2 ESV

But in the letters to the Thessalonians he says, "To the church of the Thessalonians in God." Why the difference? Paul is emphasizing the fact that this church (which happens to be in Thessalonica) is in union with God. The church at Thessalonica was undergoing persecution and they needed to be reminded of their sphere of protection and provision which was in God. They are in union with the Creator of the universe.

"God our Father"—this phrase is one of the few differences between the introduction in 1 Thessalonians 1:1 and 2 Thessalonians 1:1. Believers can call God "our Father."

Pray then like this: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Matthew 6:9 ESV

In 1 Thessalonians the greeting is simply "in God the Father." But here it is "God our Father." The former expression speaks of God as the Father of the Lord Yeshua the Christ, but the latter speaks of God as the Father of all who believe, teaching the biblical doctrine of adoption.

The pronoun "our" clearly focuses the Thessalonians on their relationship to God as their personal Father who loved and cared for them as His children who had been born into His family through faith in Christ. With the increase of persecution, they needed this reminder. John says,

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13 ESV

The doctrine of the Fatherhood of God is an amazing topic, and it is closely related to that of adoption. Sinclair Ferguson, speaking about God and adoption, writes, "Sonship … is a covenantal concept … [it] binds men and women to his family as his children."

What is adoption? James Packer understands it as "the highest privilege that the Gospel offers; higher than justification … because of the richer relationship with God it involves." So, the Fatherhood of God deals with something personal and something experiential in the life of a believer. God is the Father of those who are justified by faith alone.

"To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Christ"—the grammatical structure here, one preposition "en" with two objects "Father" and "Lord," is one of the ways that New Testament authors linked the Father and the Son. This construction would assert their equality and thereby Yeshua's deity. Another technique used by the New Testament authors to theologically assert the Deity of Christ was to attribute titles in the Tanakh and functions of YHWH to Yeshua of Nazareth.

To call Yeshua "Lord" focuses attention on who and what the Savior is to all who believe in Him. As Lord (kurios), Yeshua is Yahweh and the supreme Creator and Sustainer of the universe (John 1:1). Kurios is the Septuagint representation of the Hebrew Yahweh of the Tanakh. This shows us that Paul had already taught these new believers, from both Jewish and pagan backgrounds, about the deity of Yeshua. So, in his short time with these new believers, Paul had grounded them in the doctrine of the trinity, including the deity of Yeshua the Christ.

The Christian faith is decidedly trinitarian. One sure mark of a false cult is that it denies the Trinity: There is one God who exists eternally in three persons: the Father; the Son; and, the Holy Spirit. To attack the Trinity is to attack the Deity of Christ.

Whenever people say that they don't believe in the deity of Christ, I realize that they don't know God or the Bible. The teaching of the Lord's deity is fundamental, and it is everywhere in Scripture. For example:

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." Luke 19:10 ESV

Yeshua is here declaring his deity. Do you see it? You would if you were familiar with the book of Ezekiel,

"For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. Ezekiel 34:11 ESV
I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice. Ezekiel 34:15-16 ESV

Yahweh said in Ezekiel 34, "I will seek the lost…." Then Yeshua came along and said, "the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." By using this phrase, knowing the people knew the Scripture, Yeshua was claiming to be Yahweh in the flesh, Israel's Shepherd Savior.

David Flusser, who was a devout Orthodox Jew and a professor of Early Christianity and Judaism of the Second Temple Period at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said "You poor Christians, you wonder why the Bible doesn't say Jesus is God more often. It says it all the time, you just don't understand Jewish thought."

Let me give you an example of what he means.

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." Revelation 1:8 ESV

Here Yeshua is saying, "I am from eternity to eternity." The Jews would express the whole compass of things by א aleph and ת tau, the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. If we go back to Isaiah, we read:

Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: "I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. Isaiah 44:6 ESV

In light of Isaiah, Yeshua was clearly claiming to be Yahweh of hosts, the only living and true God! Let's move on.

Paul is telling the suffering Thessalonians that they are in union with God the Father, Yeshua, and the Spirit. They are in union with the Triune God. Paul talks about the all-important place of our union with Christ often in his writings.

so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Yeshua, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 1 Corinthians 1:29-30 ESV

Notice that it is God who creates the union. "Because of him you are in Christ Yeshua." Literally, "From Him you are in Christ Yeshua." He creates the union by His grace. We embrace it by faith.

Notice the importance of this union with Christ. If you are in Christ, by God's doing, Christ becomes for you "wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption." All that Christ is for you, He is for you because you are "in Him." Because you are united to Him.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:2 ESV

The epistolary salutation ends with a blessing: "Grace to you and peace." In his greeting of grace and peace, Paul gives what Jewish-Christians would have recognized as an echo of the ancient Aaronic blessing for God's holy people Israel. We see this in Numbers 6.

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. "So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them." Numbers 6:24-27 ESV

"Grace" is from the Greek word charis. It is a variation of the normal Greek greeting, charein, meaning "rejoice." The heart of the gospel is that God's grace or unmerited favor is extended to sinners. Because Christ paid the penalty for all our sins on the cross, God's holy justice is satisfied. Grace always precedes peace.

"Peace" was the normal Hebrew greeting ("Shalom"). We have peace with God because He is gracious to us in Christ.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Yeshua the Christ. Romans 5:1 ESV

Paul is addressing believers, the family of God. "Since we have been justified by faith" (the Greek here uses the aorist passive "having been justified"). The aorist points to a past act by God (divine passive) to declare sinners righteous. "Since we have been justified" indicates that God has already accomplished this work.

"We have peace with God through our Lord Yeshua the Christ." What does peace with God mean? It means the war is over. It means that God is no longer our enemy and is no longer promising judgment and death. Peace with God is the new status between God and the believer which flows from the reconciliation accomplished in Christ. By virtue of Christ's death on the cross, it is possible for men who are separated from God to become the friends of God and to have peace with God. Peace is one of the fundamental characteristics of the Messianic Kingdom anticipated in the Tanakh and fulfilled in the New Testament.

Biblically speaking, peace is always the product of knowing and appropriating the Grace of God in Yeshua. This order can never be reversed. Ignore the grace of God and you forfeit the peace of God. The more we grasp and experience the grace of God, the more capacity we have to experience the many wonderful aspects of God's peace.

William Barclay wrote: "When Paul took and put together these two great words, grace and peace, charis and eirene, he was doing something very wonderful. He was taking the normal greeting phrases of two great nations and molding them into one."

"From God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Christ"—in the first letter, the apostle simply wrote, "Grace to you and peace," and now he added, "from God the Father and the Lord Yeshua the Christ!" Again, in view of their needs, this strongly focuses the readers on the source of both grace and peace. God is the ultimate source of both and this is found in the two persons of the Godhead mentioned in this passage.

Bicknell writes, "The Greek makes it plain that the Father and Christ are one source. It is remarkable that even at this early date, the Son is placed side by side with the Father as the fount of divine grace, without any need of comment."

After his salutation, Paul's first sentence goes from verse 3 through verse 10.Second Thessalonians 1:3–10 is one long, complicated sentence in Greek. And we'll begin looking at it next week.

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