Brothers and sisters, you live in a dark world. The battle is intense for you, and you may feel overwhelmed. Drink in the truth of who you are in Christ. In this reality, nourish your soul and find strength for the battle. You are loved by the Lord. God chose you from the beginning. You are saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and by believing the truth. God has called you through the gospel. Your future is to share the everlasting glory of Christ. So, now: stand firm!
There is a view of the world that looks at currents events and says, “It all comes down to you, Christian. You’re the last line of defense. So, you’d better not mess up.” There’s a kind of preaching that rolls the weight of the world onto the shoulders of Christian believers. It places people under an intolerable burden—a burden you cannot possibly bear.
But Scripture does not leave us with an intolerable burden. Instead, it gives us wonderful confidence in Almighty God and wisdom for discerning how to stand firm in the darkest days of our lives.
What can you do when you see the world getting darker and evil getting stronger? Like the Apostle Paul, you can thank God for what Christ is doing in His people and for who you are in Him.
Remember Who You are in Christ
But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm… (2 Thess. 2:13-15).
1. Loved (v 13)
Slow down and try to take in this greatest of truths. No matter how dark the world around you becomes, the Lord loves you. This is more than pity, compassion, and benevolence.
The quality of love you experience in life is determined by the capacity of the people who love you. Some people have the capacity to love more deeply than others. To be loved is good, but to be loved deeply is a great blessing. Think about the capacity of Almighty God to love deeply. You will spend eternity trying to take in the wonder of His love, so start now!
2. Chosen (v 13)
Paul was writing to ordinary people who knew that they had been chosen. How did they know that? Their belief in the truth was the sign that they had been chosen. This truth is given to believers precisely because we need it to stand firm in the darkest days.
When you lay hold of Christ by faith, it will not be long before you know that he has laid hold of you. You’ll begin to experience what Jesus said to his disciples, “You did not choose me, but I chose you” (John 15:16). My little faith holding on to him isn’t enough in the dark days of life. I need to know that his mighty hand is holding onto me.
3. Saved (v 13)
The world is deceived, perishing, refusing to love the truth, delighting in wickedness, under a powerful delusion, believing lies, and ultimately condemned. God loves you and chose you to be saved from that!
4. Sanctified (v 13)
When we come across this word “sanctified”, many Christians immediately think to themselves, “This is one thing that I am not!” We associate the word “sanctified” with being saintly or holy or pure. But the word “sanctified” can have two different meanings: “made holy” or “set apart.”