Life-Study of 1 & 2 Thessaloniansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The books of 1 and 2 Thessalonians were written in an elementary way because they are letters to young saints, to new believers. These two Epistles can be compared to writings that are for students in elementary school. However, even in elementary writings there may be certain basic elements.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:13 Paul speaks of salvation in sanctification of the Spirit. Here we have three basic elements: salvation, sanctification, and the Spirit. All these terms refer to basic elements of God’s salvation.
According to Paul’s word in 2:13, God has chosen us unto salvation. The word “unto” means with a view to. Here Paul is saying that God has chosen us with a view to salvation; He has chosen us so that we may enter into salvation. In the foregoing message we pointed out that salvation here can be compared to a long bridge, to a bridge with a very long span. The bridge of God’s salvation reaches from time to eternity; it brings us out of this present age into eternity. God has chosen us with a view of bringing us onto this bridge.
In order to understand these elementary writings to the Thessalonians, let us analyze some of the words and expressions used by Paul. Second Thessalonians 2:13 says, “But we ought to thank God always concerning you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning unto salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” The phrase “from the beginning” in this verse refers to eternity past. God’s choosing is His selection. God the Father chose us, selected us, in eternity past. Paul speaks of this selection in Ephesians 1:4: “According as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blemish before Him, in love.” God the Father in eternity had a plan, a purpose. For the fulfillment of this purpose He has selected us. We all have been selected by God. We have been chosen according to His foreknowledge. Long before we were born, even before the foundation of the world, God the Father saw us and knew us. When God saw us, He was happy with us. He may have said to Himself concerning you, “I want this one for My eternal purpose.”
The case of Esau and Jacob is an illustration of God’s selection. Romans 9:13 says, “As it is written, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” As God considered the twins, Esau and Jacob, He could say to Himself, “I don’t like Esau, the first one. I am not happy with him. I prefer the second one, Jacob, the supplanter.”
If you ask me to explain why God loves Jacob and hates Esau, I would have to answer that I am not able to explain it. I do not know why God loves Jacob, but hates Esau. Only He knows the reason. God has His own desire. The Bible tells us that God loved Jacob and hated Esau, but it does not give us the reason.
When I was young, I thought that God was unfair. It seemed to me that Esau was much better than Jacob. Jacob was a thief and a deceiver. Eventually, I had no choice but to accept what the Bible says regarding God’s loving Jacob and hating Esau.
As those who have been selected by God the Father, we all are Jacobs. None of us is an Esau. Because we are Jacobs, we should not consider ourselves gentlemen. No, like Jacob our forefather, we are supplanters. But we are supplanters who have been selected by God the Father in eternity past.
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