2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
Because God Chose You
There is only one remedy for sinful men described in the preceding passage, only one way to release him from his bondage unto sin, only one means of saving men from eternal damnation, and that is “to be saved through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.” But how does this come about? Of course, God provides the means through the blood of his dear Son shed on the cross for our sins, and His Son’s resurrection which is the means of our justification. But none of this matters if sinful men do not embrace this gracious Lord in repentance and obedience unto salvation.
So how do men embrace this God and His work for them on the cross? Do they will themselves to believe? But then why do not all men believe? Why do we see men like Pharaoh only repenting until the judgment passes away? Or men in the book of Revelation cursing God for His judgments rather than turning from their sin? Why do men love their sin more than they love God? Why are they so enslaved, so unable to break their chains? Simply put, because it is their nature to be so. We see this in ourselves in our most honest moments. I love me more than anyone else in the world—which is why I hate me more than anyone else in the world. And this is the bottomless pit, a ceaseless spiral that leads to the very pit of hell that I can no more escape by the exertion of my own will than I can my own sinful and brutal nature. This is who I am, who we are, and it is my own sin—in conjunction with the world and the devil—that blinds me to this reality—a reality that I can only see in the light of God’s word revealed by the Holy Spirit speaking to me through it.
But back to my question: Why is it that some men believe and others do not? Because the Spirit so sanctifies some to believe. And why are they so sanctified to be saved? The very beginning of the passage tells us: “Because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved.” It is God’s sovereign choice and effectual calling of sinful men that renders them able to believe and breaks the chains which bind them fast to their love of sin. The Father chose a people from eternity out of love, provided the remedy for their bitter hatred of him by sending His Son whose grace is manifest on the cross and victory in his resurrection from the dead, who then sends His Spirit to apply this grace and victory in power through rebirth by that same Spirit and sanctification unto the truth by faith. There is no other way for sinful man. Therefore, beloved, stand firm, be encouraged, be comforted by the love of the Father who establishes our hearts in every good work and word.