Second Thessalonians 2:11    




The Bible says in Second Thessalonians 2:11-12 “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” We know from the context that this part of the Bible is talking about the Great Tribulation: that time on the earth when the antichrist shall come into power. The inhabitants of the earth will give power to the antichrist and will be deceived by him. What is the “cause” that is given for the reason that God “shall send them strong delusion?” It says in the previous verse in Second Thessalonians 2:10, “because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved


Salvation works this way: Jesus Christ visits in a spiritual way every human being on this earth at some time in their life and offers to them truth. Jesus said in Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Once this offer is made to a human being, that person has a decision to make: to receive or not to receive. The Bible says in John 1:11-12, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But a many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name


This receiving of Christ is what takes place in true saving belief. That is one of the reasons that salvation can be described as a gift. God offers this gift to every human being, and then every human being must make the decision to either receive or reject the gift. Those who receive enter into belief in Christ. Those who reject remain in unbelief. It is no wonder that God must punish unbelief. The ultimate reason for unbelief is because a human being makes a decision to reject God and His gracious offer of salvation through Christ. Someone who rejects Christ is someone who does not have “the love of the truth.” Of course, love is a very strong emotion. For someone to love the truth, they must want it very badly. Once again, it is a question of what a person wants or what they do not want: what a person loves or what they hate. God is love, but God has given free will to man. The judgment is waiting for those who have refused to receive Christ and who have therefore chosen to hate God. They do not want to turn from their sins and trust Christ because they “have pleasure in unrighteousness.” Now we know what they love instead of the truth. They love their own sins. They must be judged: goodness and justice demands it.


Concerning those who have received Christ as Savior, the Bible says in Second Thessalonians 2:13, “But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” If you know someone who is truly saved, then you have a great thing to be thankful for. One more person saved from the fire of hell! One more soul who will bring glory and praise to the name of Jesus Christ throughout eternity! If you are saved, you are “beloved of the Lord.” The emphasis of this phrase is that you are always being loved by the Lord. Not only did He love you when He saved you, but He still loves you and He always will.


Notice the phrase, “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation.” Of course, this emphasizes the fact that God has a great, eternal plan. He is fulfilling His plan, and you are a part of it! The entire concept of being saved as expressed in this Bible verse puts an emphasis on the fact that salvation is of God. God loved you, God choose you, and God sanctified you. What did you do? You believed, and God did everything else. And even belief was a gift that God put into your heart. Of course, as we already said, you must make a decision to receive the gift or to not receive it.


Do not ignore the phrase, “sanctification of the Spirit.” When you get saved you are looking to Christ, thinking of Christ, and praying to Christ. This turning to Christ is only possible because of the work that the Spirit is doing in your life. Salvation is a spiritual birth. Salvation is the work of the Spirit who awakens the soul to its need of Christ. No one gets saved unless the Spirit does this work. But when you are saved, you are sanctified by the Spirit. To be sanctified means to be made holy and to be set apart for God. This is the work that God did. You did nothing to be set apart as one of His holy ones. It was all His doing because of Christ and through Christ. Do not be fooled by the legalizers who emphasize the works of man in regards to a holiness brought forth by man’s works or man’s efforts. The kind of holiness spoken of in this Bible verse is brought forth only by the act of God the Holy Spirit.      


It says in Second Thessalonians 2:14, “Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This verse also emphasizes what God did in order for a person to get saved. If you are saved, it is only because God “called you.” Once a person has been called by God and has responded to the calling, the result is just as certain as the calling. The result is “the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” God has one Son that He loves so much, that God wants many other children to share the inheritance.


Salvation is the work of God. It is the gift of God. Jesus paid it all on the cross of Calvary. God calls. Man believes. Jesus saves. The Holy Spirit sanctifies. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit do all of the work that is involved when a soul is saved. Man only believes. But once a person is saved, there is something for that person to do; every day, until the day comes that they arrive in heaven. It says in Second Thessalonians 2:15, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word or our epistle


Second Thessalonians 2:15 is an important verse to understand today, because it has almost been two thousand years since the apostles lived on the earth. The problem with Christian organizations in our day is that they have followed the wrong traditions. They have followed the traditions of teachers who came after the apostles. That is their mistake, and it’s a big one. Notice what some religious people said to Jesus about traditions, and then what Jesus said in response about those who follow the wrong traditions. The Bible says in Mark 7:5, “Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?” Jesus answered these religious people in Mark 7:6-8 and said, “Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandments of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do 


We know which traditions that we are not supposed to follow: anything that is human based and not what the apostles taught. Listen carefully to the traditions that we are supposed to follow: ‘hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word or our epistle.” Whatever the apostles taught by their spoken words or their written words are the only traditions that true Christians should follow. But because the apostles are no longer alive, we cannot hear their spoken words like people in the first century could. But we do have access to their written words: their epistles. The written Word of God is the only tradition that true believers should follow. Beware of whatever church or other religious organization with which you may be associated. Undoubtedly all churches and religious organizations have some religious traditions that came from human beings. Beware of those human traditions, because those human traditions will do what human traditions always do. They will present a stumbling-block to the following of a spiritual life that is based upon God’s Word and only upon God’s Word. Many people received Christ, but then did not “stand fast” in the teachings of the apostles, because they got involved in human religious tradition: whether it be the liberal brand or the conservative brand of human tradition.   


We do not ever want to spend too much time talking about human responsibility, because we do want to lose sight of the fact that Christianity is based upon what God has done for us, and not what we have done for Him. Paul wrote in Second Thessalonians 2:16, “Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace.” Once again we are reminded that Jesus loves us. God loved us before we loved Him. “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” We need to remind ourselves often that we are the beloved of Christ. He loves us for no reason. He loves us even if no one else does. He loves us unconditionally. He loves us with an everlasting love. That is why the next phrase says that He “hath given us everlasting consolation.” We live in a world where everything is temporary, even life itself. Therefore, by giving to us eternal life, God has given us that which is more valuable than anything else. That is why Jesus said, “What shall it profit a man, should he gain the whole world, but lose his own soul


The word that is translated “consolation” is a word from which we also get “comforter.” The Holy Spirit is called the Comforter. It means literally “one who is called alongside.” The presence of the Holy Spirit brings comfort because of what He says and what He does. The knowledge that we have eternal life should be a great comfort to every believer. Thinking of death can only cause fear and doubt and pain for the unbeliever, but for the believer the thought of eternal life gives hope that goes beyond the grave. It is a “good hope.” It is a “good” hope in contrast to other hopes that human beings have that are limited to what this life only can bring.


No one can take the “good hope” from you, if you have received it. The good hope, eternal life, was given to you by “grace.” God freely gave what you could have never earned. He gave it to you because of Christ. Jesus Christ did everything that He should have done, including willingly going to the cross of Calvary. You and I have failed many times: we have sinned many times. Thank God that salvation is based upon “grace:” a free gift. The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye save through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast   


It says in Second Thessalonians 2:17, “Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.” This verse has two verbs: “to comfort” and “to establish.” The subjects of these two verbs are found in the previous verse: Jesus Christ and God the Father. We are not surprised to see Jesus and the Father combined as the joint subject for divine action. Both are God. Both possess the divine attributes. Both are involved jointly with the Holy Spirit in all the works of God. One might say that in this verse we are being told of human responsibility. Yes, we are saved freely by grace, but we still have responsibilities in the will of God. Therefore, we are told that we should have “every good word and work.” But in talking about human responsibility, this verse also makes it clear that even after being saved, we cannot do what we ought to do without God’s help. We must be comforted and we must be established by Christ and the Father if we are to have any good works at all. Notice that this verse speaks of ”every good word and work.” If we are going to do the right thing, we must first of all say the right thing. The opposite is also true. It is not enough just to say the right thing. Good words without good works is weakness and hypocrisy. Thank God that in spite of the fact that we are weak in ourselves, we have all the strength that we need in our Lord Jesus Christ.     




Copyright; 2006 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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