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Pulpit: He chose you for salvation

April 16, 2017 GMT

Paul predicted the coming of the Antichrist in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 and encourages the believers to stand firm in the faith (2:13-17). The main concern was to correct some misapprehensions the Thessalonians had in regards to the Rapture, the Apostasy and the Second Advent.

The Rapture is the event that removes all believers from the earth to join with those already in heaven. Both groups meet the Lord Jesus Christ in the air with new glorified bodies (1 Thessalonians 4:4:13-18). Paul goes on to explain that the Second Advent must be preceded by another time period called the Apostasy, a great falling away of those who have professed to be Christians, and the man of lawlessness (sin) is revealed, called the son of perdition. This is a time of great persecution because God will lift his restraining power against evil. This time period ends with the Second Advent when Christ comes back to the earth with the saints to destroy the Antichrist and his followers.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:13, Paul encourages the Thessalonians believers that God had from the beginning, chosen them to salvation through the sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. God had the plan of salvation in place “from the beginning,” i.e., before time began, before the foundation of the world, and before the ages (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Corinthians 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:9).

The word “chosen ” is in the middle voice, the subject participates in the action, means that God has chosen or elected you, taken you for Himself, implying His having adopted you in His eternal purpose. God has chosen you to salvation because you accepted the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and also, because you believed the truth of the gospel.

The phrase “Through sanctification of the Spirit” deals with the three parts of salvation. First the person is made holy like Christ, i.e., the person is made a new creation and is translated out of the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of God (2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 1:13). Secondly, after accepting Christ as their Lord and Saviour, a lifelong process of gradual sanctification occurs through studying and obeying God’s word. Finally, the third part of sanctification occurs at the moment the believer receives a glorified body (2 Thessalonians 2:14). From beginning to end God is the One who does the work of sanctification through the agency of the Holy Spirit. We must receive salvation as a gift from God to participate in it.

I have taught lessons on salvation for many years like the one given above in churches and in outreach ministries. It has been very gratifying to see the Lord working with His word as His messages have gone forth and to see changes in people as they have accepted the good news of Jesus Christ. At the end of one of these messages, a woman put her hands up in the air and began to worship Jesus and said, “Jesus, I receive you as my Lord and Savior. Come into my heart and save me. Thank you for saving me.”

But what does it say? The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved (Romans 10:9-10, The Living Bible).