That God Would Count You Worthy
“we pray….that God will count you worthy of your calling…”
2 Thessalonians 1:11
The goal of faith is heaven. When all is said and done, the goal God has established for you and me is to be in such a spiritual state that when Jesus comes again, we will be gathered up from the earth to meet Jesus in the sky (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17); to glorify Him and to marvel at His majesty and appearance (2 Thessalonians 1:10-11) as we are changed into a glorious state like His; shining forth brighter than the sun (Philippians 3:20,21).
“To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power…” (2 Thessalonians 1:11).
Paul often prayed for the brethren he loved and served, seeking this very outcome for their lives. Consider your brethren, those with whom you worship and serve the God of heaven. Do you often pray for them concerning the same thing? And do you suppose they pray similarly for you? I hope so. I believe it is so with many. This goal is eternal in its nature, and there is nothing better for which you could pray in behalf of your brethren!
That Our God Will Count You Worthy of Your Calling
We are called to conform to the image of His Son, Jesus according to God's eternal purpose (Romans 8:28-32). We answer this call by transforming ourselves according to His word (Romans 12:1,2).
It is an upward call of God toward eternity's goal (Philippians 3:14). God has always had a goal for us, and calls upon us to work toward it, but it is up to us to faithfully accept it (2 Thessalonians 2:14-17). I am sure that God heard Paul's prayer in behalf of his brethren, and responded by providing opportunity and grace to the Thessalonians. But these brethren were still free. They could still determine their own course, and fail to make the transformation, fail to "press on toward the goal". We must recognize the same thing when we pray thusly for others. Not even everyone that Jesus prayed for, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do" were forgiven, but all had the opportunity to be, granted by God, and some were.
It is God who qualifies us for our eternal inheritance, for we cannot do so on our own. “...having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:12). We are in need of God's mercy for this because we were ”dead in our trespasses and sins” and it took the cross to take our debt away (Colossians 2:13-14). This worthiness, then, is a gift of God, and based on our overcoming by His power and our faith (2 Thessalonians 1:4,5; Revelation 3:4,5)
That Our God Will Fulfill Every Desire for Goodness
Our text also says that Paul prayed that God would “ fulfill every desire for goodness” on his brethren's behalf. God fulfilling our desire for goodness is a good point to ponder. Paul is praying that the good intentions of the brethren will bear fruit successfully. A good example would be the desire of the Corinthians to be gracious toward their brethren (2 Corinthians 8:7-11). In fact, a very critical part of doing good is the proper motivation of faith and love that allows a cheerful accomplishment of good (2 Corinthians 9:6-8).
But there were some things lacking among this good church at Thessalonica, just like it is with us. They were not perfect; neither are we (1 Thessalonians 3:8-10). There can be joy and confidence even in the midst of such imperfection. But as we seek to live by faith and press on toward the goal, as we resolve to do good, God will work to complete our characters and thus fulfill our desires. God will do this for them, and for you and me, if we will be truly serious about accomplishing good with our lives.
That Our God Will Fulfill the Work of Faith With Power
Paul also prayed that God would fulfill “the work of faith with power.” Faith works. It is the nature of true faith to be active. Our obedience of the gospel is not putting our faith in ourselves, but in God! (see again Colossians 2:12).
The church at Thessalonica was well familiar with this concept of faith (1 Thessalonians 1:3). This involves individual members all doing their parts in this work of faith which will produce positive results in the local church (Ephesians 4:15-16).
We began by talking of the ultimate goal for our lives which God established; that when Jesus comes again, we will be gathered up from the earth to meet Jesus in the sky; to glorify Him and to marvel at His majesty and appearance as we are changed into a glorious state like His shining forth brighter than the sun. Thus begins our entrance into our final, eternal inheritance. But to get from here to there, we must depend on God's power to protect us available to us only if we live by faith.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5).
It is to this hope we hold in times of distress giving us courage and strength (1 Peter 1:6-7). If we are faithful, then this faith, by God's power, will complete itself on that day we rise to meet the Lord in the air, having obtained the goal of eternal salvation (1 Peter 1:9).
Yes, Paul often prayed for the brethren he loved and served, desiring as the outcome of their lives here the glory and inheritance of the Father. Do you often pray your for your brethren concerning the same thing? If not, will you? And do you suppose they pray similarly for you? I hope so. I trust that it is so. This goal is eternal in its nature, and out of the whole range of future potential outcomes, there is none greater than this.
From Expository Files 23.7; July 2016