For 10¢ a day you can enjoy ads
free while helping to build churches and support pastors in Uganda.
Click here to learn more!

Bible Commentaries

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

2 Thessalonians 1


2 Thessalonians Chapter 1

2 Thessalonians 1:1,2 Thessalonians 1:2 The salutation.

2 Thessalonians 1:3-5 Paul certifieth the Thessalonians of the good opinion which, he had of their faith, love, and patience.

2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 Of the righteous judgment of God in punishing their enemies, and recompensing their sufferings,

2 Thessalonians 1:11,2 Thessalonians 1:12 and of his prayers that God would fulfil his gracious purpose in them.

Verses 1-2

These two verses are the same as in the former Epistle, and therefore I proceed.

Verse 3

The apostle begins this Epistle as the former, with thanksgiving; only there he gave thanks for their faith, hope, and love, here he only mentions their faith and love; there for the efficacy of their grace, here for the growth of it. There he said only: We give thanks here he addeth:

We are bound, and as it is meet; as if he was obliged to give thanks for them now somewhat more than before, perceiving their grace did not only yet abide, notwithstanding all their persecutions, but increase and grow. But the apostle’s thanksgiving here respects particularly these Thessalonians’ growth. Not only the beginning, but growth of grace is from God; else why doth the apostle give thanks for it? As Philippians 1:6. Hence he is styled the God of all grace, 1 Peter 5:10, weak and strong, first or second. The manner of its growth, whether by infusion of new degrees, as the first grace is infused, or by co-operating only with it, and so it is increased by exercise, is a question I leave to the schoolmen. However, growth is a duty, and commendable in churches. And the apostle mentions particularly:

1. Their growth in faith; and that a great degree, υπεραυζανει, it groweth exceedingly; it grows over and above, above the ordinary rate of growth, or the common pitch of faith. Their progress was from faith to faith, their assent to the doctrine of the gospel grew more firm and rooted, and the persuasion of their happy state in Christ was much confirmed and strengthened, with a more confident reliance on him; or their faith was extended to more objects by the increase of their knowledge.

2. Their increase in love; which he also expresseth by an emphatical word, πλεοναζει, which signifies increasing to more and more; their love grew in the habit, and abounded in the fruits of it. And this love he sets forth by the universality of it, and the reciprocalness of it, it was the love of all to each other; they all did love, and were all beloved of one another: there was no schism among them, as in some other churches.

Faith and love are two sister graces, and are always more or less together; only in the order of nature, faith is first, and worketh by love; but not first in time; and then afterwards, when it brings forth, love is fides formata, faith formed, as the papists speak. Hence some have said, that there was not one hypocrite or false Christian in this whole church. Now the apostle and his fellow ministers hereupon judged themselves bound to give thanks. Christians are obliged to give God thanks for the grace of God in others as well as in themselves; and especially the ministers of the gospel, for the people that have been converted by them, or are committed to them. Hereby the apostle’s joy was increased at present, and his future glory might be advanced also.

Verse 4

In the former verse the apostle gave thanks for them, in this he glories in them; he gave thanks for them to God, and glories in them before men. Wherein Silvanus and Timotheus are to be understood as joined with him herein. Glorying inclndes in it high estimation of a thing, rejoicing in it, high commendation of it, and applauding ourselves in it; and it must be some great thing, either really or in opinion, and in which some way or other we ourselves are concerned. And glorying is a good or evil according to the matter or object of it. To glory in our wisdom, strength, riches, Jeremiah 9:23; to glory in men, 1 Corinthians 3:21, in our own works, Romans 4:2, in what we have received as if not received, 1 Corinthians 4:7, after the flesh, 2 Corinthians 11:18, or in our shame, Philippians 3:19; all this glorying is evil. But to glory in God, Isaiah 41:16, in his holy name, 1 Chronicles 16:10, with God’s inheritance, Psalms 106:5, in the knowledge of the Lord, Jeremiah 9:24, in the cross of Christ, Galatians 6:14, in tribulation, Romans 5:3, in Christ Jesus, 1 Corinthians 1:31, in hope, Hebrews 3:6, and of the success of the ministry in the church’s growth, and their faith and patience, as here in the text; all this glorying is good: as elsewhere he boasted or gloried in the Corinthians’ liberality, 2 Corinthians 9:2; but his glorying in them was not to exalt himself, but to magnify the grace of God, and provoke other churches to imitate them.

In the churches of God; where the excellency of grace is known, and the commendation of it will be received and imitated; and not amongst carnal men, who scoff at true goodness. And it was the apostle himself, and Silvanus and Timotheus, that thus gloried in them. It adds to persons’ commendation, when it is by men of great knowledge, wisdom, and goodness. And it was by such as well knew them, and understood their state; and being instruments in their conversion, were more concerned to glory in them than any other apostles or ministers. And their glorying in them, as it respects what he said of them in the former verse, so what he further adds in this, which is their

patience and faith in all their persecutions and tribulations. Persecutions are properly sufferings for righteousness’ sake: tribulations, any kind of suffering, as some distinguish. And it seems they had many of both, when he saith all, & c. And yet they endured them, that is, not only suffered them because they could not cast them off, but in the sense of the apostle James, James 5:11; Behold, we count them happy which endure; which is a suffering out of choice, and not mere necessity, as Moses did, Hebrews 11:25, when sufferings stand in competition with sin, or the dishonour of the Christian profession. Sufferings in themselves are not desirable, and the apostle did not glory in their sufferings, but in their faith and patience. As he before joined faith and love together, so here faith and patience; and as love springs from faith, so doth Christian patience, whereby it is distinguished from patience as a mere moral virtue found among the heathen, either that of the Stoics, Peripatetics, or Platonists. Faith and patience are well styled the two suffering graces, and therefore here mentioned by the apostle when he mentions their sufferings. Faith as it depends upon God, and sees love under afflictions, believes his promises, looks at the recompence of reward, &c., so it supports under suffering. And patience, as it keeps down passion, and quiets the soul under its burden, makes it to sit lighter, and gives advantage to the exercise of that grace and reason, whereby a Christian is strengthened under his sufferings. Now hereupon the apostle glories in them, as men are apt to do in the heroic acts of great conquerors; or the captain of an army, in the valiant performances of his soldiers.

Verse 5

These words seem to follow by way of argument, to comfort these Thessalonians under their sufferings:

1. By what they manifest, viz. the righteous judgment of God; they are a plain indication of it, or demonstration, as the word is used by logicians. And by judgment we must not here understand the judgments or afflictions God inflicts in this world; so that when God doth not spare, but chasten his own children, it is a token of his righteous judgment. But rather under understand it of the last judgment: when we see the righteous suffering such wrongs and injuries from wicked men, and they go unpunished, we may argue thence that there is a judgment to come; we cannot else well vindicate the righteousness, wisdom, goodness, and faithfulness of God in his governing the world: as Solomon so argued, when he saw so much unrighteousness in the very seat of justice; I said in my heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time for every purpose and work, Ecclesiastes 3:16,Ecclesiastes 3:17. And this judgment is called here righteous judgment, by way of eminency, as it is expressed by one word, δικαιοκρισια, Romans 2:5, (for all God’s judgments are righteous):

(a) Because the wicked will then meet with justice without mercy, which is not so in any present judgments.

(b) Justice will then be clearly manifested, which now lies obscure, both with respect to the righteous and the unrighteous.

And in this sense the words carry an argument of comfort to the saints, under their present unjust, sufferings from their enemies. As to the same purpose the apostle speaks to the Philippians,

Philippians 1:28.

2. The other argument of comfort is from the result of their sufferings, the great advantage which will arise out of them; they will be hence accounted worthy of the kingdom of God: not by way of merit, as the papists say; the Greek word in the text, in its usual acceptation, will not favour that opinion, it signifies no more in the active voice, than the Latin word dignari, which we English to deign, or vouchsafe; and yet we may allow the word to signify more here, not only that this kingdom may be vouchsafed, but that ye may be meet or worthy to receive it; not that all their sufferings could deserve this kingdom, for the apostle saith, Romans 8:18; I reckon the sufferings of this present time not worthy of the glory, & c. There is no proportion between them, and so they cannot merit it, yet God may account those that suffer for this kingdom worthy of it, according to the grace of the new covenant in Jesus Christ, and as it hath a congruity with the nature of God, and his faithfulness in his promises; and so our translation renders the word, not that ye may be worthy of the kingdom of God, but accounted worthy; God of his free grace will account them worthy. The kingdom of God is propounded to men in the new covenant upon certain conditions, and those that perform them have a worthiness of right, as Revelation 22:14, but not of merit. But God enables men to perform the conditions, so that there is nothing on our part properly meritorious; yea, when we have performed them, yet our worthiness is to be attributed to Christ, and God’s grace, and not to ourselves, else man would have whereof to glory. The Scriptures call eternal life the gift of God, Romans 6:23, and attributes salvation to grace, Ephesians 2:8. We must allow a worthiness only that is consistent with grace; but when we have done all we must say: We are unprofitable servants. Luke 17:10; and after all we have done and suffered for the kingdom of God, must pray, as Paul for Onesiphorus, that we may find mercy of the Lord at that day, 2 Timothy 1:18.

For which ye also suffer; the sense either respects their enemies, that it was upon the account of this kingdom that they persecuted them, having nothing else justly against them; or else their own aim and intention in suffering, it was for the kingdom of God. And hence we may learn that his kingdom is worth suffering for, and that in some cases it cannot be obtained without suffering: and he that then refuseth to suffer will be accounted unworthy of it; as he that doth suffer for it, as these Thessalonians, hath, upon the account of God’s covenant, and the merits of Christ, not only the grace and mercy, but the justice and faithfulness, of God engaged to bestow it upon him. And also that we may and ought in our sufferings look to the reward, as Moses did, Hebrews 11:1-40.

Verse 6

By these words the apostle doth illustrate his argument for a judgment to come, taken from the persecutions and tribulations of the saints. It is of necessity that God should be righteous, and recompensing is a necessary act of righteousness; but we yet see it not, therefore there is a judgment to come. And this recompence is both to the righteous and the wicked, the persecutors and persecuted. The former he here speaks first of: and to recompense tribulation to them that trouble the people of God, is a just recompence; it is according to the law of retaliation, whereof we have some instances in this world, as in Pharaoh, Adoni-bezek, Haman, &c.; and many others, whereof we have a large account in the history of the church and her persecutors; but this will be more fully verified in the judgment to come, called the revelation of the righteous judgment of God, Romans 2:5. And God’s recompence to them is here called tribulation; so Romans 2:9. And though in other scriptures the punishment of the wicked is set forth by other names, yet here it is called by this name; not only for elegancy of speech, by a paranomasia, but to parallel their suffering to their sin; they brought tribulation upon others, and God will bring it upon them. And under this word is comprehended all the torments of hell, which our Saviour expresseth by weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, Matthew 8:12, which is the extremity of tribulation. And it is said here, God will recompense, &c., which should teach us not to revenge ourselves; as Psalms 94:1; Romans 12:19. And this the apostle sets before these Thessalonians by way of comfort; not that we ought to reioice in men’s destruction merely for itself, but in the honour that will thereby arise to God’s justice, and in the favour, honour, and salvation God will vouchsafe to his people herein.

Verse 7

Having spoken of the recompence of the troublers, here of the troubled: and in this we may observe a parallel, as in the former. The recompence to these is expressed by rest; in the Greek, dismission, or cessation from labour or trouble; as Hebrews 4:9; There remaineth a rest to the people of God, where the word is, keeping a sabbath, importing a rest from labour, as this text doth speak of a rest from trouble. And though the word rest is properly negative, yet under it the apostle comprehends all the felicity of the future state; elsewhere called a crown, a kingdom, an inheritance, glory, salvation, eternal life, yea, it contains in it the perfect satisfaction of the soul in the fruition of God, &c. And this is said to be given them by way of recompence, as tribulation is to their troublers; though there is no parity between their trembles and the rest, that is, their recompence, yet it is a proper recompence; and therefore the grace and mercy of God will be much manifested therein, though it is said to come from God’s righteousncss in the text. The righteousness of God dispenseth both these recompences; but yet the righteousness in both is not alike; ακριβοδικαιον, strict justice, dispenseth the one, and the punishment of the wicked riseth from the nature of their sin, and the merit of it; but it is only επιεικεια, equity, that dispenseth the other, and that not so much with respect to the nature of the saints’ duties or sufferings, as the promises and ordinance of God, and the merit of Christ for them. And this rest the apostle sets forth before them, under a twofold circumstance:

1. Rest with us. Us, the apostles and ministers of Christ, we and you shall rest together; as we have partaken of troubles together, so we shall of rest. And you shall enjoy the same felicity with the apostles themselves, in the same state of rest. And though now place doth separate us, yet we and you shall rest together, which will the more sweeten this rest to you and us.

2. When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven; the other circumstance. This is the time of their entering into this rest. Christ’s coming is sometimes called his επιφανεια, appearing, 2 Timothy 4:8, or shining forth; sometimes, φανερωσις, his manifestation, 2 Corinthians 4:2; 1 John 3:2; sometimes, αποκαλυψις, his revelation, as in the text. Now the heavens contain him, but he will come in person, and his glory shine forth: though before that their souls shall be at rest in heaven, and their bodies in the grave, yet not till then shall their persons be at rest. And as Christ himself is already entered into his rest, Hebrews 4:10, so he will come again to take his people into the same rest with him.

Verse 8

But his coming will be upon another account to many others, which is said here to be to take vengeance, for which purpose he is said to be revealed with his mighty angels, or angels of might; and elsewhere, with all his holy angels. They are said to excel in strength, Psalms 103:20, or to be mighty in strength, and have the name of might, Ephesians 1:21. And here called mighty, because as the work Christ comes upon is great and difficult, so he will have instruments sufficient for it, and none shall be able to hinder. And though he hath power himself sufficient, yet the angels must attend him to solemnize this great day, and to be serviceable to him in the work thereof, which, as it will respect the saints in their resurrection from the dead, and their gathering from the four winds, and separating them from the ungodly, as tares from the wheat and sheep from the goats, so the taking vengeance also in this day of the Lord’s wrath, which the apostle, especially, is in these verses speaking of, is the work they shall be employed in. As also in flaming fire, or the fire of flame, a Hebraism. Fire is the most dreadful of all the elements, especially flaming, to denote the great wrath of that day, and its breaking forth, as fire when it flameth. God’s wrath is often expressed in Scripture by fire, Deuteronomy 32:22; Psalms 97:3, &c.; Jeremiah 21:12; Hebrews 10:27; and as that which attendeth the great day of Christ, Daniel 7:10; 1 Corinthians 3:13; 2 Peter 3:7,2 Peter 3:12. And whether this flaming fire is material, or only metaphorical; if material, whether the present elementary fire, which shall descend, and be joined with that which shall break forth out of the bowels of the earth, as in Noah’s flood the waters were from above and from beneath; or whether it shall be some new created fire, and the action of it natural, or supernatural, I shall leave it to the schoolmen. Yet it is generally conceived it is a material fire; else how can the elements be said to melt with fervent heat, and the world and the works thereof burnt up, as the apostle Peter speaks, 2 Peter 3:10; and parallels it with the deluge in Noah’s time, which was with material water. But yet it is to be a manifestation of the fire of God’s wrath, and an instrument of it also in the destruction of ungodly men, 2 Peter 3:7; for it is said in the text, Christ is revealed in it to take vengeance. Vengeance is an act of justice; it is a retribution of evil for evil, the evil of suffering for the evil done: and God claims it as belonging to himself, Psalms 94:1; Romans 12:19; Hebrews 10:27; and it is mentioned in the parable, Luke 18:7,Luke 18:8, as one great work of Christ, at his coming, to avenge the elect.

On them that know not God; these are the persons upon whom he will execute vengeance: by whom some think are meant the heathen, who had not the gospel. Those that had not the gospel, yet had means to know God, by the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence, which if they did not improve, but remained ignorant of God, will fall under this vengeance. And by knowledge here is not meant so much a speculative as a practical knowledge of God; and so such as do not fear, love, and honour God, may be said not to know him. As the Gentiles, who are said to know God, Romans 1:21, but yet not glorifying him as God, and living in idolatry, are said not to know him, Galatians 4:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:5. And as God tells the king of Judah, that to do justice and judgment is to know him, Jeremiah 22:16. And Eli’s sons, though priests, yet are said not to know the Lord, 1 Samuel 2:12.

And that obey not the gospel; which may be taken in conjunction with the former words, and then such as obey not the gospel are the same with them that know not God. As God is not known aright but by the gospel, so they only know God aright by the gospel who obey it. Some are ignorant and know not God, though they live under the gospel. Or, such as have knowledge, yet are not obedient. Knowledge and obedience ought to go together. And this obedience is called the obeying of the gospel. The gospel hath not only promises to be believed, but precepts to be obeyed. Yea, faith itself may fall under its precepts, and then those that believe not the gospel do not obey it: as the same word in the Greek signifies to believe and obey. And as the gospel hath some peculiar precepts and institutions, so all the commands of the moral law are comprehended in it; and the equitable part of the judicial law, yea, and the ceremonial law also, where that which is moral is figured by it; and so far as the gospel commands, men ought to obey; and disobedience appears to be a great evil, when it will expose men to this great vengeance. So Romans 2:8,Romans 2:9; To them that do not obey the truth, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, & c. Not to obey the law of nature, exposed the heathen to God’s wrath, Romans 1:18; and to disobey the law of Moses, the Jew, Romans 2:2; Hebrews 2:3; Hebrews 10:28; Hebrews 12:25; much more not to obey the gospel. Christ is said here especially to take vengeance of such at his coming. Gospel sins are most heinous and most provoking, and will be most severely punished.

Verse 9

This is the vengeance before spoken of; it is here called

destruction, not an annihilation, and cessation of being, but of all well-being: and elsewhere called death, Romans 6:23, and the second death, Revelation 20:6, which imports also not all ceasing of life, but all comfort of life. And it is not the body alone, nor the soul alone, but their persons,

who, & c.; and as fire is a great destroyer, so Christ’s coming in flaming fire brings their destruction. And this destruction is

everlasting: the fire that destroys them is never quenched, Mark 9:43,Mark 9:44. As the fire of the altar, which was a fire of mercy, was not to go out, so the fire of Tophet burns for ever, Isaiah 30:33, which is the fire of justice; and God living for ever, and his justice never satisfied, their destruction is for ever. They sinned in their eternity, and will be punished in God’s eternity. There was a remedy provided in the gospel for men, but rejecting the gospel, and not obeying it, there remains no hope; their destruction is everlasting. And this destruction is called punishment, δικην τισουσιν poenam luent; not the chastisement of a Father, as the temporal affliction of God’s people. It proceeds from vindictive justice; it is taking vengeance. And this punishment is twofold, punishment of loss and sense, and from both together proceed perfect destruction.

From the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; the preposition from in the first expression noting separation, in the second noting efficiency. Others conceive efficiency to be meant in both, their destruction proceeding from the face of Christ frowning on them, frowning them into hell, (which smiling upon others, will bring their salvation), as well as from his glorious power manifested against them to destroy them, Romans 9:22. And yet others interpret the preposition in both places to note separation, both from the face of Christ, which the saints shall behold and rejoice in for ever, and from his glorious power; which will work in some for their complete salvation in the day of his appearing, as it had done before in their first conversion, and sanctification. The destruction of the wicked will be from or by the power of Christ; but by this

glory of power may be meant only that power which will bring glory both to the bodies and souls of the saints, and this the wicked shall have no experience of in that day.

Verse 10

This speaks the different manner of Christ’s coming towards the saints and believers; not in flaming fire to destroy them, as in the former verse; but to be

glorified and admired in them. He saith not to be glorified by them, by their adoring and praising of him, but in them. He hath a personal glory, wherein he will appear glorious, and another mystical, in his saints. The Head will be glorified in the members, as they are glorified in and from the Head: as the sun hath a lustre and glory in the moon and stars besides what it hath in its own body, as Colossians 3:4; When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, we also shall appear with him in glory. The glory God gave his Son, he hath given it to his saints, John 17:22, and will put it upon them, and be glorified in it in the day of his appearing; as God is said to have glorified himself in Israel, Isaiah 44:23.

And to be admired; and this glory will be so great, that he shall be admired in it, as the word signifies. It will set the saints themselves, and all the angels of heaven, yea, the whole world, a wondering. Small things do not cause admiration, but what is great and we cannot comprehend, that we admire. And Christ will not only be admired by them, but in them; the wonderful love, grace, mercy, wisdom, and faithfulness of Christ towards them will be admired. To raise up such a number of poor, sinful, despicable worms out of the dust into such a sublime state of glory and dignity, will be admirable.

Because our testimony among you was believed; and that these Thessalonians might have the comfort of this particularly, he having spoken of saints, and those that believe in general, the apostle applies this therefore to themselves in way of parenthesis: q.d. Christ will be admired in all that believe; and ye are among them that believe; ergo, &c. And the doctrine of the gospel he had preached, he called it his testimony, as John 3:33; 1 Corinthians 3:6; which implies it was not an invention of his own, he did not speak of himself, as the word implies: and this testimony found different entertainment, some believed it not, others believed it and received it; upon which account the Thessalonians are commended and comforted here by the apostle. The Syriac read the words in the future tense, without a parenthesis; Christ will come to be thus glorified and admired in his saints, because our testimony among you concerning it shall be believed or confirmed in that day; he means the day of Christ’s last coming, which he called the day of the Lord, 1 Thessalonians 5:2; and because it is so great a day, is therefore by way of emphasis called that day.

Verse 11

The apostle here again mentions his praying for these Thessalonians, as he had often mentioned it in the former Epistle. And the reason might be, because he was absent from them; they might the more need his prayer, and by telling them of it, he thereby assures them that he forgot them not. And the prayer he here makes for them hath reference to the discourse he had been upon, as appears by this word Εις ο:

Wherefore, or for, or in order to which, we pray, & c.

This calling; which is figuratively to be understood of the blessed state they were called to, for the calling itself they had received already. And so it is the same in effect mentioned before, 2 Thessalonians 1:5, called there the kingdom of God; or to have Christ glorified and admired in them, 2 Thessalonians 1:10. And elsewhere termed the prize of the high calling of God, Philippians 3:14. And that God would count them worthy of it; as he had used the same expression before; only there it was mentioned with respect to their sufferings, here in a way of prayer. He encouraged them under their sufferings, that they might thereupon be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, and now prays that God would count them worthy; their worthiness arising more from the gracious account of God than their own sufferings. A Christian’s calling hath duty annexed to it, whereupon the apostle exhorts the Ephesians to walk worthy of it in discharge of those duties, Ephesians 4:1,Ephesians 4:2. And it hath a state of blessedness belonging to it, which is meant here; and none shall partake of it, but those whom God shall count worthy of it. But God’s account is not according to the strictness of the law, but the gracious indulgence of the covenant of grace; but yet his prayer implies such a walking according to this covenant, as whereby they might be counted worthy of the blessed state they were called unto.

And fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness: the gracious purposes of God towards his people are called often his good pleasure, as Matthew 11:26; Luke 12:32; Ephesians 1:5,Ephesians 1:9; and the same is meant Isaiah 53:10;

The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand; the Hebrew word Chephets being of the same signification with the Greek word here used. Christ shall accomplish the gracious purposes of God towards his people. And called his

good pleasure, partly because they have no reason out of the sovereign will of God, and they are such also as he hath great complacence and delight in; and though they are executed in time, yet they were in his heart from everlasting, and therefore called eternal, Ephesians 3:11. And I find purpose and good pleasure put both together, Ephesians 1:9. It is here called

the good pleasure of his goodness, which is not a tautology, as it may seem to be, but to make his expression of God’s grace the more emphatical; or rather, to show that this good pleasure of God towards his people ariseth out of his goodness. God hath purposes of wrath towards some, but such cannot be called the good pleasure of his goodness. Goodness is that excellency in God, whereby he is ready to communicate good to his creature; but by goodness here is meant God’s special goodness, which is peculiar to his people whom he hath chosen. To

fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, is to accomplish all those good purposes that were in his heart; some whereof were already fulfilled in their calling, adoption, justification, and sanctification begun, but the whole was not yet fulfilled, which he therefore here prays for; so that as their election, and their first conversion, were not from any worthiness or foresight of faith in them, but the good pleasure of his will, so the progress and perfection of their salvation was also to be from the same good pleasure.

And the work of faith with power: by the work of faith is either meant faith itself, which is the work of God, or else the fruits of faith; and so work is here taken for works or operations of faith. And the apostle addeth this in his prayer, to show that we are not saved only by God’s good pleasure without faith, such a faith that worketh. And to perfect their salvation is a fulfilling the work of faith, for perseverance and progress towards perfection is from the work of faith. Or it may particularly refer to their patience and constancy under their sufferings, which he had before spoken of, and which is a peculiar work of faith. But because faith is not sufficient of itself, and the work of faith may fail, he therefore addeth, in power, or

with power; that is, the power of God, which is his Spirit, so called, Luke 1:35. Our faith and the power of God are here joined together, as 1 Peter 1:5. The same power that first worketh faith, afterwards co-worketh by it and with it.

Verse 12

That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him; opwv. All expositors agree that these words contain in them a final cause, as the Greek word imports; and so understand them as the ultimate end of the apostle’s prayer for them; he had prayed for things that did concern their salvation, but he looked further, which was, that thereby the name of the Lord Jesus may be glorified in them. The glory of Christ and the saints’ salvation are wrapt up together; and though they are to look immediately to the latter, yet ultimately to the former. But whether the apostle means the glorifying Christ in this life, or the life to come, is a question. I rather think the words refer to the life to come, when the name of Christ shall be for ever glorified in the salvation of his people, when all the good pleasure of God’s goodness shall be fulfilled upon them, they having been kept in the faith by the power of God unto the end, through Jesus Christ; and then also they shall be glorified not only by him, as we may read the text, but in him, in being received into a participation of the same glory with Jesus Christ, and by their union with him are glorified in him, John 17:22; Colossians 3:4; 1 John 3:2. And when this is done, then have they received the prize of their calling, then is the whole good pleasure of God’s goodness fulfilled, then is the work of faith accomplished; which things the apostle saith he prayed for in their behalf.

According to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ: what the apostle before called the good pleasure of God’s goodness, he here calls his grace, and he adds the grace of Christ, because the grace or favour of both are so eminently manifested in these things, whereby not only the name of God, but of Christ also, shall be glorified, as he said before; and that it may be glorified in them according to his grace, that is, greatly glorified; and they glorified in him according to the grace of God and Jesus Christ, that is, greatly glorified, as we may further understand the words; the grace of God being exceeding great towards them in Jesus Christ. And hereby the apostle would exclude all thoughts about their own merit, 2 Thessalonians 1:11.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 1". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.