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2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

11. Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:

11. In quam rem etiam oramus semper pro vobis: ut vos habeat dignos vocatione Deus noster, et impleat omne beneplacitum bonitatis, et opus fidei cum potentia 634634     “Auec puissance, ou puissamment;” — “With power, or powerfully.”

12. That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

12. Quo glorificetur nomen Domini nostri Iesu Christi in vobis, et vos in ipso, secundum gratiam Dei nostri, et Domini Iesu Christi.

 

11 On which account we pray always. That they may know that they need continual help from God, he declares that he prays in their behalf. When he says on this account, he means, in order that they may reach that final goal of their course, as appears from the succeeding context, that he would fulfill all the good pleasure, etc. It may seem, however, as if what he has mentioned first were unnecessary, for God had already accounted them worthy of his calling. He speaks, however, as to the end or completion, which depends on perseverance. For as we are liable to give way, our calling would not fail, so far as we are concerned, to prove sooner or later vain, if God did not confirm it. Hence he is said to account us worthy, when he conducts us to the point at which we aimed.

And fulfill. Paul goes to an amazing height in extolling the grace of God, for not contenting himself with the term good pleasure, he says that it flows from his goodness, unless perhaps any one should prefer to consider the beneficence 635635     “Ceste bonté et beneficence;” — “This goodness and beneficence.” as arising from this good pleasure, which amounts to the same thing. When, however, we are instructed that the gracious purpose of God is the cause of our salvation, and that that has its foundation in the goodness of the same God, are we not worse than mad, if we venture to ascribe anything, however small, to our own merits? For the words are in no small degree emphatic. He might have said in one word, that your faith may be fulfilled, but he terms it good pleasure. Farther, he expresses the idea still more distinctly by saying, that God was prompted by nothing else than his own goodness, for he finds nothing in us but misery.

Nor does Paul ascribe to the grace of God merely the beginning of our salvation, but all departments of it. Thus that contrivance of the Sophists is set aside, that we are, indeed, anticipated by the grace of God, but that it is helped by subsequent merits. Paul, on the other hand, recognizes in the whole progress of our salvation nothing but the pure grace of God. As, however, the good pleasure of God has been already accomplished in him, referring in the term subsequently employed by him to the effect which appears in us, he explains his meaning when he says — and work of faith. And he calls it a work, with regard to God, who works or produces faith in us, as though he had said — “that he may complete the building of faith which he has begun.”

It is, also, not without good reason, that he says with power, for he intimates that the perfecting of faith is an arduous matter, and one of the greatest difficulty. This, also, we know but too well from experience; and the reason, too, is not far to seek, if we consider how great our weakness is, how various are the hindrances that obstruct us on every side, and how severe are the assaults of Satan. Hence, unless the power of God afford us help in no ordinary degree, faith will never rise to its full height. For it is no easier task to bring faith to perfection in an individual, than to rear upon water a tower that may by its firmness withstand all storms and fury of tempests, and may surmount the clouds in height, for we are not less fluid than water, and it is necessary that the height of faith reach as high as heaven.

12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified. He calls us back to the chief end of our whole life — that we may promote the Lord’s glory. What he adds, however, is more especially worthy of notice, that those who have advanced the glory of Christ will also in their turn be glorified in him. For in this, first of all, the wonderful goodness of God shines forth — that he will have his glory be conspicuous in us who are covered over with ignominy. This, however, is a twofold miracle, that he afterwards irradiates us with his glory, as though he would do the same to us in return. On this account he adds, according to the grace of God and Christ. For there is nothing here that is ours either in the action itself, or in the effect or fruit, for it is solely by the guidance of the Holy Spirit that our life is made to contribute to the glory of God. And the circumstance that so much fruit arises from this ought to be ascribed to the great mercy of God. In the mean time, if we are not worse than stupid, we must aim with all our might at the advancement of the glory of Christ, which is connected with ours. I deem it unnecessary to explain at present in what sense he represents the glory as belonging to God and Christ in common, as I have explained this elsewhere.


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