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1 Thessalonians Chapter 3

Paul then, when he could no longer wait (from the opposition they faced) states, that even though he wanted to see them again he thought it best to make Athens their last stop. (v1) He sent Timotheus (Timothy) to them to strengthen their faith and fellowship (their charity towards each other.) (v2) That they shouldn't allow their opposition to the gospel to make them falter - because they know that all christian ministry is opposed. (We are appointed to opposition - in Paul's ministry from the jealousy of the jews, stirring up the locals) (v3) (However by not being so appointed apostleship, opposition under restraint by God would not be so vile as to cause a complete falling away.)

Paul told them at first when he was with them how they would suffer opposition - even as it started to happen - and to all those at Thessalonica. (v4 - c.f. the words of Jesus "The world hated me first") So when Paul could no longer wait he sent Timotheus to bring back news of how they managed to stand in the face of opposition, keeping their faith - unless they had been tempted away from the gospel and returned perhaps to a false gospel more palatable to the jews. (One that is not justified by grace, bringing in the gentiles into the people of God - Spiritual Israel.) (v5)

But Timotheus returned with good news of their faith and conduct towards each other and that they still follow Paul's example always, wishing greatly to see them again also. (v6) Paul was comforted so much that all their affliction and opposition seemed nothing. (v7) Paul is glad and assured of the grace shown him to eternal life when their fellowship stands fast in the gospel. (v8) Paul can not give greater thanks to God for their fellowship, for the joy they give Paul. (v9) Paul had always prayed night and day that he will see them again and might perfect whatever remains lacking in their faith. (Paul has had this prayer answered - which is the great reason for thanks.) (v10)

Paul prays to the whole trinity that God bring them by them again. (v11) Paul prays that God increase their number and their charity and care for each other; and towards all men - as Paul also does toward them; (by spreading the truth of the gospel in an honest and blameless manner.) (v12) To the end that they inherit eternal life under the Holy Spirit blameless before God for the day of Jesus' coming with all the saints. (v13)

The gift of eternal life is by grace, and to those that obey the requirements of grace - obedience to the truth and repentance show the fruits of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit both reveals the truth and trains in obedience - the charity shown by God is in the edification of believers in truth by each other (and directly from heaven) as well as charitably encouraging those weak in faith to be trained in repentance.

The gift of eternal life is with the coming of God's completed example of Christ - His death on the cross. It is equivalent almost to the life being "transferred" although this is only a simultaneity of coincidence. (Still, God has chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise.) The eternal life then is given or not, rather than transferred and removed; and the elect are predestined into eternal life by the ministration of the Holy Spirit preparing themselves for it. This will be visible before all at Jesus' second coming.


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