THE SALVATION OF GOD’S FOLLOWERS
2 THESSALONIANS 2:11-14
As we begin the study we have a couple of things to finish from the previous study. That is, the two reasons why the followers of the Antichrist will be judged. This is important so please think about the two reasons being presented.
Note: The followers of the Antichrist are damned — those who take pleasure in unrighteousness. The word “damned” (krithosin) means judged, condemned, punished. These reasons are why the followers of the Antichrist will be judged. This will be important for the end-time dwellers. However, they are also important for those living in the current Age of Grace. So please pay attention.
The Followers of the Antichrist will not believe the truth of the gospel, the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you believe the gospel? God loves His Son Jesus Christ—loves Him with a perfect love. Therefore, an unsaved man cannot expect God to overlook him when he will not honor His Son.
*He curses Christ. *He rejects Christ. *He dishonors Christ. *He ignores Christ.
*He opposes Christ. *He downgrades Christ. *He disobeys Christ. *He demeans Christ.
*He debases Christ. *He despises Christ. *He scoffs at Christ. *He neglects Christ.
Jesus Christ is the Sovereign Son of God who has sacrificially died for men, women and children. Therefore, if a person rejects the sacrificial death of Christ, he cannot expect God (The Father) to overlook the dishonor done to His Son.
NOTE: The person can only expect the judgment of God.
Remember: Antichrist means anti, that is, against Christ. Any person who follows any of the antichrists [false teachers of this age – I John] now or the infamous Antichrist in the future will be judged, condemned and punished by God. God could do nothing else.
The followers of the Antichrist will have pleasure in UNRIGHTEOUSNESS. They will be people who live unrighteous lives and take pleasure in their unrighteousness. They will be people who love their sins.
a. They will lust with their eyes and love to feed their imaginations with what they look at.
- They will be people who look and lust after pornographic literature.
- They will be people who look and lust after those who dress to expose their bodies and attract attention.
- They will be people who look and lust after enticing food.
- They will be people who look and lust after the possessions of the world.
b. They will lust with their flesh and love to feed their flesh with what they lust after.
- They will be people who lust and feed their flesh with all forms of immorality.
- They will be people who lust and feed their flesh with all kinds of food.
- They will be people who lust and feed their flesh with all kinds of possessions, indulging every desire and knowing little about sacrifice in order to meet the needs of the lost in the world.
c. They will seek the pride of life, seek position, recognition, honor, power, fame and wealth. They will focus more and more upon self and the power of man and science to give them the utopia of happiness and success.
Note the awful tragedy of all this: Man is the total focus — his pleasure, desires, ambitions, image, ego, esteem. God is forgotten altogether. Man loves himself and himself alone. He looks and focuses upon himself and himself alone. God is rejected, denied, forgotten, ignored, and neglects. God is relegated to nothing more than a figment of the imagination for superstitious people.
NOTE: Therefore, judgment, condemnation, and punishment of God must fall upon those who love their unrighteousness (sin).
NOTE: 3 things in Romans 1:18:
(1)”For the wrath of God is revealed (2) from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, (3) who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18).
“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Romans 1:26-32; Romans 2:8).
“But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:3-6).
“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” (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12).
“How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?” (Job 15:16).
“Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah. Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue. God shall likewise destroy thee for ever, he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living” (Psalm 52:3-5).
“Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the forwardness of the wicked; …but the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressor shall be rooted out of it” (Proverbs 2:14, 22).
“Thus saith the LORD unto this people, Thus have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet, therefore the LORD doth not accept them; he will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins” (Jeremiah 14:10).
Now we move to 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 and the Salvation of God’s Followers.
NOTE: This passage is a contrast between the followers of the Antichrist and the followers of Christ (God). It is a passage that should speak with force to the heart of the true believer.
- True believers are truly saved, not damned like the followers of Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:13).
- The origin of salvation: God has chosen true believers (v. 13).
- The purpose of salvation (v. 14).
- The duty of salvation: to stand fast and to cling to the Word of God (v. 15).
- The resources for salvation (v. 16-17).
Now notice 2 Thessalonians 2:13, key words, Believers –Salvation. Believers ARE NOT DAMNED like the followers of the Antichrist; they are truly saved people. Note the word “but.” It is a sharp contrast between the followers of the Antichrist and the true believers of the Lord. The followers of the Antichrist are to be damned, that is, judged, condemned, and punished. But the true believers of the Lord are the BELOVED OF THE LORD. Why? Because they follow Him. They believe Him, all that He claimed, that He is truly the Son of God who has come to earth…
- to die for men, women and children.
- to save men, women and children from death and judgment.
- to give them eternal life.
- to bring assurance, love, joy, and peace to men as they walk throughout life.
Therefore, true believers love the Lord with all their hearts, and they follow Him ever so diligently, doing all they can to please Him (Revelation 4:11). The Lord is bound to count a person who so loves and follows Him as one of His BELOVED FOLLOWERS. The Lord is bound to SAVE (John 3:16, Romans 10:9-13) any person who TRULY believes Him.
THE POINT IS THIS: believers are not to be damned like the followers of the Antichrist, but they are to be saved. The great truth of salvation is the discussion this passage.
Notice again: 2 Thessalonians 2:13: Key Words, Salvation — Chosen — God, Election. The origin of salvation is God.
“God hath from the beginning chosen them to salvation.” This is a most wonderful truth. God has CHOSEN believers before the world was ever created, chosen them to salvation.
“According as he hath chosen us in him BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD (creation), that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” (Ephesians 1:4-5).
NOTE: God wants us to be with Him. God does not want us to be judged, condemned, punished and separated from Him. God wants us to live with Him forever and ever. The Greek word for “chosen” (heilato) is strong. It is an unusual word to be used here. The word’s uniqueness is this: it is one of the words that is used when God chose Israel.
“And the LORD hath avouched [chosen] thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments” (Deuteronomy 26:18).
“For thou art a holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people” (Deuteronomy 7:6-7).
“Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he CHOSE their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day” (Deuteronomy 10:15).
NOTE: The point is this: God has chosen believers in the Age of Grace. How? By the very same sense in which He chose Israel. True believers are chosen by God as Israel was. God loves the believers from the depths of His heart, and He wants us to be secure in the fact that He has CHOSEN US. Our salvation is secure because it is based upon His choosing us.
NOTE: The believers of the Lord ARE THE BELOVED OF THE LORD. Why? Because they follow Him. They believe Him, all that He claimed, that He is truly the Son of God who has come to earth…
- to die for men, women and children.
- to save men, women and children from death and judgment.
- to give men, women and children eternal life.
- to bring salvation, assurance, love, joy, and peace to men, as they walk through life here on earth and in eternity.
Therefore, believers love the Lord with all their hearts, and they follow Him ever so diligently, doing all they can to please Him. The Lord is bound to count a person who so loves and follows Him as one of His beloved followers. The Lord is bound to SAVE any person who truly believes Him.
The point is this: believers are not to be damned like the followers of the Antichrist, but are to be saved. The great truth of salvation is the discussion of this passage.
1. God has chosen believers to be saved “from the beginning,” that is before the foundation of the world. This a most glorious truth: God saw us as SAVED before we were ever born. He chose us to be saved before He ever created the world. Just think of the security in this.
If God saw us as saved before the earth was made — if God saw us SAVED BEFORE WE WERE EVER BORN, then there is no way we can be lost and removed from his love and care. This is what Jesus meant when He said:
“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:28-29).
What security! Having been chosen by God to salvation — chosen from the beginning, from eternity past– before the earth was ever established. There is no judgment or condemnation for the believer; the believer will not be judged and condemned with the followers of the Antichrist nor with any other unbelievers.
“…He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (Ephesians 1:4).
Note a crucial point: in the Bible the truth of God’s choice (election and predestination) is not so much a statement of theology or philosophy — it is more a message that speaks to the spiritual experience of the believer.
If pure logic of philosophy and theology is applied, then God’s choice says that God chooses some for heaven and others for a terrible hell. But this is simply not what God means in the passages dealing with His choice, and this fact needs to be given close attention by all. What God wants believers to do is to take heart, for He has assured their salvation and given the greatest security imaginable.
NOTE: What God wants believers to do is to take heart, for He has assured their salvation and given them the greatest security imaginable. This is what He means by His having chosen us to salvation.
In the next study we will delve further into this subject–for in the next two points it will show how salvation takes place, both God’s part and man’s part.
As we finish, I would like to direct our attention to Romans 10:9-13.
Since Christ has come, the gospel does not require man to scale the heavens nor to fathom a great abyss. Such requirements would be impossible. The gospel only demands faith and open confession that Christ Jesus has done both. Why would God commission His Son to go to such limits for man? Simply because God loves man that much (John 3:16; Romans 5:8).
All that a man desires — righteousness, salvation, and utopia– are found within man’s mouth and heart. Man has to do three simple things to be counted righteous and acceptable by God. He has to do three things to be saved from sin, death, and hell, and to be in God’s utopia (Heaven):
- Man must confess with his mouth the Lord Jesus. He must confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord from heaven (that He is from above John 3:31). (See also John 3:13; John 6:33; John 6:50-51; John 6:62; John 8:42; John 17:5.)
- Man must believe that God raised Jesus from the dead.
- He must believe that Jesus Christ…
- died for man.
- was raised up from the dead because He perfectly satisfied God’s demand for justice.
God’s holiness and justice were perfectly satisfied with the death of Jesus Christ. God was perfectly satisfied with Christ taking man’s sin upon Himself and bearing the punishment of sin for man. God was perfectly satisfied with Christ dying for man; therefore, God raised up Jesus Christ from the dead.
Please review John 3:16 and Romans 10:9-13 and follow the principles you discover, particularly Romans 10:9-13.
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