We have now come to the last chapter of this second Epistle. In the two previous chapters, Paul has written about the subject of the two comings of our Lord Jesus. He now concentrates their minds and hearts on what they must do while they are waiting.
These are his last words to them, ‘pray for us’, and for the work of the Lord, ‘that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you’, v. 1. This great man of God yearned for the prayers of his children in the faith. What a challenge to us! He wants them to pray specifically that he, and his fellow workers, might have liberty to preach the word. David wrote, ‘for You have magnified Your word above all Your name. In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul’, Ps. 138. 2, 3 NKJV.
Paul reminds them of the hostility they will have to face continually, ‘from unreasonable and wicked men’, v. 2. For, he says, ‘all men have not faith’. What a challenge! Are our prayers mingled with faith? Do we believe our God hears and answers our prayers? ‘For he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him’, Heb. 11. 6 NKJV. But, then, he encourages them by reminding them that, ‘the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil’, v. 3. He also speaks of the confidence they have in the Lord who strengthens them and he concludes this section by praying that the Lord would direct their hearts ‘into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ’, v. 5. There is no greater source of strength and comfort than to know that we are loved of God, and that soon we are going to be in the presence of Christ.
He opens this section claiming authority from the Lord Jesus Christ for what he has to say, ‘we command you, brethren’, v. 6. He is now giving very clear instruction as to how they are to react to every brother who behaves in a disorderly way. He is challenging them not only to hold fast to what they have been taught, but to follow what they have witnessed in Paul and his companions, v. 7. It seems that some had not taken heed to what Paul had written in his first letter, ‘study to be quiet … do your own business … work with your own hands … walk honestly toward them that are without’, 1 Thess. 4. 11, 12. Paul reminds them that he did not look to anyone to feed him or minister to his needs, 2 Thess. 3. 8. He had given them an example to follow, v. 9.
However, even though he had commanded them when with them, v.10, there were some who were not working, but were busy-bodies, v. 11. How true that the devil has plenty for idle hands to do. So, he commands and exhorts them again, ‘that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread’, v. 12. He then goes on to encourage the rest to continue in doing good and not to grow weary. But he gives a solemn warning that if they find any who refuse to obey the instruction given, then they must ‘note that man’, v. 14, and keep no company with him. They are not to treat him as an enemy but to admonish him as a brother, v. 15. How patient our Lord is.
He opens this last section by requesting that ‘the Lord of peace himself give you peace’, v. 16. The word for peace here is the word for unity, or concord. ‘Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!’ Ps. 133. 1. What a happy people we would be if we were in the good of this. It is a gift from the Lord, v. 16. And He wants us to have it always, in all circumstances. It comes when we are enjoying the presence of the Lord, ‘The Lord be with you all’. Would it not be wonderful if all the people of God were enjoying the daily presence of the Lord? What a witness that would be to those around us.
What a tremendous source of strength that would be to us in every circumstance of life.
The reference to ‘The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle’, v. 17, some believe, was that, after dictating the letter, he would take the pen, or quill and add his signature. Others think that it is his final words written here, ‘The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all’, v. 18. For he would know that without the supply of that daily grace not one of us would be sustained through our journey here. There is a throne of grace before which we are encouraged to draw near with boldness in order that we might obtain mercy for our sins and shortcomings and find grace to help us in every time of need. How wonderfully our Lord has prepared for us in our pilgrimage here below. May the Lord encourage us to keep looking for His coming and looking to Him for the grace and daily help we need during these dark and difficult days.
‘For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry’, Heb. 10. 37.