2 Thessalonians 2 vs 13
“But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.”
Well, the news again is gloomy cases of Covid are on the rise medics and scientists are pessimistic, or they disagree, the governments are confused and people just want some kind of certainty, some security and reassurance; at least, that’s what I sense among those of an older age group especially. Looking back now life had a security for most of us this time last year but in reality that too was only an impression, the security of ignorance.
Last night I read the words noted above from 2 Thessalonians and it struck me that given all the unpredictability of life, even when not connected to Covid -19, here was security at least as far as Christians are concerned. Approaching the end of his correspondence with the believers in Thessalonica in the light of what he had written about the deception of the “man of lawlessness” Paul is encouraged by their faith hence he expresses the conviction that he should thank God for them. This however, is due to God’s action not theirs. God chose them to be saved and since it was God’s choice they were held securely no matter what the external circumstances may throw up for them.
The same is true of every believer, the work of salvation is God’s, from beginning to end, the choice his, the plan of salvation his, the securing of that plan made fast in Christ, the work of renovation in the heart done by God the Holy Spirit and the future hope secure in Christ and promised by God. Even if we grow cold, lose our way and let go of God, though we suffer loss because of it, we are not ultimately lost because he has chosen us not the other way around. In the darkest valley he is with us, his word is a lamp for our feet and a light on our path.
As Presbyterians we are familiar with the Westminster Shorter Catechism, at least almost everyone who attended Sunday School remembers the answer to the first question. Reformed churches in the United States also embrace the Heidelberg Catechism and the first question in it speaks of our security.
Q. What is your only comfort in life and death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil. He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation. Therefore, by His Holy Spirit He also assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for Him.
It’s not exactly catchy but it’s certainly comprehensive! That’s what it means to be secure in Christ even in these troubling times.