October 20

2 Thessalonians 3

Paul mentions living in the world with unreasonable and wicked men. He says to pray that the word of God would run swiftly (have free course) and be glorified, or valued. The Greek word is eleutheros and it means “unconstrained.” It is opposite of the enslaved. The word is derived from a word that means, “to come, go.” The idea is that the word of God has the freedom to go anywhere and everywhere.

In 1 Thessalonians, Paul wrote about the Second Coming, and in 2 Thessalonians, he seems to address those who think Christ is coming back immediately, neglecting to work and care for their own needs. Paul says the church should avoid fellowship with these people, seeing them as being in error and a bad influence. He tells the church family not to treat these irresponsible ones as enemies, but to instruct or admonish as a brother. Until Christ returns, we are to continue doing what we know to do.

Jeremiah 3-4

Through the prophet Jeremiah, God not only gives the warning of judgment, but He also please for His people to return to Him. In order to repentant, God says, “only acknowledge your iniquity.” There is no blame shifting for their wrong; they take responsibility for their decisions. There is no down playing of wrongs done; they acknowledge the severity of sin. There is no lying to try to deny sin; they take ownership of wrongs committed. There are no excuses being made.

In order to remove and turn from sin, one must own it and confess it. Repentance cannot be made if sin is not acknowledged. Then God will forgive. Psalms 32:5 “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.’ And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.”

God promises to give instruction and guidance, to lead the humble in the right way. He promises to give leaders that will feed them with knowledge and understanding (Jeremiah 3:15). An understanding spiritual leader will not only focus on repeated behaviors, but also looks at the root of wrong decisions and bad choices, leading a broken person to healing. Verse 22 “Return, you backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.”

What if someone went through abuse? Many victims of abuse experience guilt, shame, and fear as a result of the wrongs committed at the hands of an abusive authority or domineering personality. A victim feels involvement in wrong behavior, but a leader with understanding will help the victim understand what caused their docile or agreeable subordination and the fault of the dominant person who took advantage of their vulnerability. God’s righteousness will cleanse and strengthen victims of abuse, and He will heal and restore what the enemy tried to destroy.

Let’s all remember that God is on our side in overcoming sin. His warnings are His strong desire to keep us from the harmful consequences of living outside of His ways. He doesn’t come with condemnation; He comes with the offer of rescue. In addition, He promises healing and restoration when we turn from wickedness and return to His abundant love.

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