2 Thessalonians 2
God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. - Vs 13-14
Paul reveals another one of his constant prayers for the church – his gratitude to God for His having chosen them for salvation. It is God who rescued them from the guilt, power, and punishment of sin and provided them with a new heart, a new inheritance, and a future free from sin and its affects. The salvation they received is the same one we have received. It is a gift from God – undeserved and unearned. And it becomes our possession through the work of the Holy Spirit through sanctification.
Paul gives a glimpse into this process called sanctification. It begins at the point at which God chooses us. He chose us even while we were still in our sins (Romans 5:8). but because of what Christ has done on the cross, God sees us as righteous. When He looks at us, He sees us covered and cleansed by the blood of Jesus. We are positionally holy. But we still have a sin nature and live in a world filled with sinful people. The enemy is out to destroy us and to tempt us to live according to our old nature and not in keeping with the new nature we have in Christ. So God begins this process of internal transformation – called sanctification – through which the Holy spirit makes our external behavior and internal motivation (heart) take on the character of who we are in Christ. We become increasingly more like Christ in our character and conduct – living out our new identity as sons and daughters of God. This sanctification process is a life-long one and it is what the Holy Spirit is doing inside each of us as believers. But Paul says we have a role to play as well. It involves our "faith in the truth." This is our active consent to the truth about Jesus and His redemptive work as revealed in the Scriptures. In other words, we must believe that what the Bible says about who we are in Christ and about what He is doing in our lives through the Spirit. Our salvation is through the sanctification process and accompanied by an active, vibrant faith that believes in and obeys God's Word concerning our new life in Christ.
Paul says it was for this He called us…that we might gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Notice that Paul doesn't say that God chose us for salvation and then stop there. He clearly states that it is a salvation that is marked by the process of sanctification and the presence of faith. That is God's plan. His salvation is NOT just a ticket to heaven, a get-out-of-jail-free card that keeps us out of hell and guarantees us a place in heaven. No, God expects our salvation to be accompanied by change, here and now. He has called us so that He might progressively change us into the likeness of His Son – NOW! That's why He gave us His Spirit. That's why He gave us His Word. That's why he left us and didn't take us to with Him at the moment He called us. We are being transformed into the same image (Christ's) from one degree of His glory to another (1 Corinthians 3:18). We are works in process. We are being conformed into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). And one day we will be like Him (Philippians 3:20-21).
Father, thank Youfor choosing me. I am blown away by the fact that You chose me in spite of me. I didn't deserve it. Yet You sent Your Son to die for me. You had Your Spirit open my eyes so that I could understand the value of the gift being offered to me. And based on my minimal faith exhibited in my acceptance of that gift, you placed me in Your family and called me Your son! Now You are transforming me into the very likeness of Your Son Jesus Christ. You have given me His nature and are now allowing it to become who I am in everyday life. Thank You. Amen