This week in the Adult Bible Study Guide is the second of three weeks which focus on Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Belief no. 11, “Growing in Christ”. This is the most recent addition to what were, for 25 years “the 27 Fundamental Beliefs”; it was only added by the 2005 General Conference Session (resulting in the “28 Fundamentals”).
This week the Sabbath School quarterly has as its key thought the statement “Christ’s victory on the cross defines the scope of the victory into which the Christian may grow.” It is a true and aptly phrased observation drawn from this week’s key text, Colossians 2:15: “He [God] disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, triumphing over them in him [Christ].”
“FREE GIFT” shrieks an actor’s voice as the words rise into giant red and amber mushrooms across the television screen. Again, on the computer, I am alerted to ‘Instant Rewards’ or ‘Free gifts’, providing I rush out to buy food- clothing-new car-fuel-discounts or book an airline ticket, now or within limited time. To a degree, such advertising is said to be a win-win situation, but, at the same time, retailers are building and sharing huge databases with people’s personal information. Free?
Stephen Hawkins, that remarkable Cambridge University mathematician and cosmologist wrote in his 1988 book, A Brief History of Time, (193), that were scientists to discover the long-sought “theory of everything” to explain the varying mechanisms of the universe, “we would truly know the mind of God.”
This week's commentary is taken from Matthew Henry's (18 October 1662 – 22 June 1714) Commentary on Thessalonians. Henry was an English commentator and Presbyterian minister.
2 Thessalonians 3:1-5
1Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, 2 and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.
Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. (2 Thessalonians 2:3 NIV)
Something strange is happening in the world. Just as human governments and organizations insist more and more on full compliance with all their human laws and regulations, societies are becoming more and more indifferent to the law of God. Even stranger is the fact that Christians are often at the forefront of this increasing disregard for the law of God!
2 Thessalonians 1:3-12, our Scripture for this week, is the thanksgiving section of the letter. In ancient letters, the thanksgiving section was generally very brief. It usually followed the letter opening and the greetings and went like this: “I thank the gods for your good health,” or “I make remembrance of you all before my gods.”
Again we are grateful for Dr. Paulien's crisp, literary pen as he digs out the salient features of Paul's remarkable letters to the Thessalonians. He rights with one eye on Paul and the other on us today--we who must understand Paul through twenty-first century eyes.
Even these eleven verses in 1 Thess. 5 give us plenty to thank Paul for, and plenty to digest and adjust our thinking to.