on 2-thessalonians 1 :12
That the name of our Lord - This is the great end of your Christian calling, that Jesus who hath died for you may have his passion and death magnified in your life and happiness; that ye may show forth the virtues of him who called you from darkness into his marvellous light.
And ye in him - That his glorious excellence may be seen upon you; that ye may be adorned with the graces of his Spirit, as he is glorified by your salvation from all sin.
According to the grace - That your salvation may be such as God requires, and such as is worthy of his grace to communicate. God saves as becomes God to save; and thus the dignity of his nature is seen in the excellence and glory of his work.
1. It is an awful consideration to the people of the world, that persecutions and afflictions should be the lot of the true Church, and should be the proof of its being such; because this shows more than any thing else the desperate state of mankind, their total enmity to God; they persecute, not because the followers of God have done or can do them hurt, but they persecute because they have not the Spirit of Christ in them! Men may amuse themselves by arguing against the doctrine of original sin, or the total depravity of the soul of man; but while there is religious persecution in the world, there is the most absolute disproof of all their arguments. Nothing but a heart wholly alienated from God could ever devise the persecution or maltreatment of a man, for no other cause but that he has given himself up to glorify God with his body and spirit, which are his.
2. The everlasting destruction of the ungodly is a subject that should be continually placed before the eyes of men by the preachers of the Gospel. How shall a man be induced to take measures to escape a danger of the existence of which he is not convinced? Show him the hell which the justice of God has lighted up for the devil and his angels, and in which all Satan's children and followers must have their eternal portion. All the perfections of God require that he should render to every man his due. And what is the due of a sinner or a persecutor, of one who is a determinate enemy to God, goodness, and good men? Why, everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power. And if God did not award this to such persons, he could not be the God of justice.
3. The grand object of God in giving his Gospel to mankind is to save them from their sins, make them like himself, and take them to his eternal glory. He saves according to the measure of his eternal goodness; the scanty salvation contended for and expected by the generality of Christians, it would be dishonorable to God to administer. He saves according to his grace. His own eternal goodness and holiness is the measure of his salvation to man; not the creeds and expectations of any class of Christians. To be saved at all, we must not only be saved in God's way, and upon his own terms, but also according to his own measure. He who is not filled with the fullness of God cannot expect the glory of God.
4. Another proof of the fall and degeneracy of men is, their general enmity to the doctrine of holiness; they cannot bear the thought of being sanctified through body, soul, and spirit, so as to perfect holiness in the fear of God. A spurious kind of Christianity is gaining ground in the world. Weakness, doubtfulness, littleness of faith, consciousness of inward corruptions, and sinful infirmities of different kinds, are by some considered the highest proofs of a gracious state; whereas in the primitive Church they would have been considered as evidences that the persons in question had received just light enough to show them their wretchedness and danger, but not the healing virtue of the blood of Christ.
on 2-thessalonians 1 :12
That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ - That is, that the Lord Jesus himself may be honored among you; the name often denoting the person. The idea is that the apostle wished that the Lord Jesus might be honored among them by the fair application and development of the principles of his religion.
And ye in him - That you may be regarded and treated as his friends when he shall come to judge the world.
According to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ - That is, that you may experience all the honor which his grace is fitted to impart.
In view of the exposition given of this chapter, we may remark:
(1) That the wicked will certainly be punished when the Lord Jesus shall come to judgment. Words cannot reveal this truth more plainly than is done in this chapter, and if it is not to be so, then language has no meaning.
(2) the punishment of the wicked will be eternal. It is impossible for language to teach that doctrine more clearly than is done in this chapter. If it were admitted to have been the intention of God to teach the doctrine of eternal punishment, it is impossible to conceive that he could have chosen more plain and positive language to express the doctrine than has been done here. Can it be, then, that he means to trifle with people on so solemn a subject, by using words which have no meaning?
(3) it will greatly aggravate the punishment of the wicked that it will be "a righteous thing" for God thus to punish them. If they were to suffer as martyrs; if in their sufferings they could feel that they were oppressed and crushed beneath mere power; if they could feel that they were right and that God was wrong; if they could get up a party in the universe against God, sympathizing with them as if they were wronged, the case would be changed. A man can endure suffering much more easily when he has a good conscience, and feels that he is right, than he can when he feels that what he endures is deserved. But the sinner in hell can never have this consolation. He will forever feel that God is right and that he is wrong, and that every pang which he endures is deserved.
(4) if it be a "righteous thing" that the wicked shall be punished, then they never can be saved by mere justice. No one will go to heaven because he deserves or merits it. All dependence on human merit, therefore, is taken away in the matter of salvation, and if the sinner is ever saved, it will be by grace, and not by justice.
(5) if it is a "righteous thing" that the sinner should perish, he will perish. God will do right to all.
(6) it is amazing that the mass of men have so little concern about their future condition. God has plainly revealed that he will destroy the wicked forever, and that it will be a righteous thing for him to do it; and yet the mass of mankind are wholly unconcerned, and disregard all the solemn declarations of the Bible on this subject as if they were idle tales. One would suppose that the very possibility of eternal suffering would rouse all the sensibilities of the soul, and lead to the earnest inquiry whether it is not possible to avoid it. Yet the mass of people feel no concern in this inquiry. It is impossible to ever get them to think of it. We cannot get them even to ask the question, seriously, whether they themselves are to be happy or miserable for all eternity. This stupidity and indifference is the most unaccountable fact on earth, and probably distinguishes this world from all others.
(7) it is rational to think of religion; to reflect on eternity; to be serious; to be anxious about the future state. If there is even a possibility that we may be miserable forever, it is proper to be serious about it. And if there is a solemn declaration of God that it will be a "righteous thing" for him to punish the wicked, and that he will "punish them with everlasting destruction," assuredly the mind should be concerned. Is there anything more worthy the calm and sober attention of the human soul than such solemn declarations of the infinite God?
on 2-thessalonians 1 :12
1:12 That the name - The love and power of our Lord may be glorified - Gloriously displayed in you.