(1-2) Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy wrote a second letter to the Thessalonian believers under the inspiration of my Holy Spirit, offering them my grace and peace.
(3-4) Beloved, I celebrate when I see your faith getting stronger over time. Your maturing belief in who my Son is allows you to grow in love for others, even when life gets hard.
(5) Suffering and persecution are all effects of life in a fallen world, yet as I watch you endure pain, I see how your thirst for my kingdom grows, which is evidence of my Spirit’s work in you. Stay the course.
(6-10) Do not lose sight of what I have done and continue to do. My justice will not be thwarted. When my Son returns, my kingdom will come into its fullness. Those who insist on clinging to hatred and evil will find my love utterly unbearable. There is no place in my kingdom for self-centeredness and injustice; those things will be destroyed by holy fire. Those who refuse to loosen their grip on their sin will be burned up right along with their unrighteous ways. When you believe that the most important thing about you is your sin, you do not know me or my Son. Why would you want to be with us in a kingdom of love? I will not thwart your free will; if you choose eternal destruction away from my life-giving presence, I will not stand in your way. Yet if you choose a life of love with me, know this: all the pain, suffering, and evil in the world will be no more. When my Son arrives, everyone who is willing to be called his friend will shine with his reflected glory. It will be a marvelous celebration.
(11-12) As you wait for that day, beloved, keep praying for yourself and others, that I might keep working in and through you for my glory. It is by my Spirit that you grow in faith and goodness. Your life reflects the presence of the Holy Spirit. All these things are ultimately about the fame of my Son who is all grace and love.
(1-3a) Beloved, when you think about my Son’s second coming, do not be alarmed or afraid. I have everything in hand. You will hear people proclaiming loudly that the end has come, church leaders making proclamations that the end is at hand. Do not believe them. I alone know what will happen and when.
(3b-8) The world will continue to fracture as people live in opposition to love. Leaders will arise who call evil good and seek to destroy love with word and action, but they will call it righteous. For example, a leader will proclaim that my holy word teaches hatred and divisiveness, but he will call it love. He will call himself the chosen one, the savior, as he celebrates his own glory. Do not forget that this has been anticipated for a long time. This is not something new. Right now, I have restrained his power, though in time, the pain of evil shall be fully revealed. Look around. Evil is already at work, but it is just a shadow of evil’s true darkness. When you see the anti-Christ in full measure, you will also witness his destruction. My Son, who is perfect righteousness and bears the power of light, will open his mouth to speak and evil will be destroyed once and for all. Evil stands no chance in the face of unadulterated love.
(9-12) I want you to hear this: This lawless one who comes does so in the power of Satan. The things he does, which seem impossible, are driven by evil. He will call his evil good and good evil, deceiving many. When people are more committed to the claims of the deceiver than to my Son, it is to their demise. The time will come when I will get out of the way so that they can fully embrace their delusional thinking. I will not thwart their will. People are given a glimpse of my love. Everyone is invited to my kingdom, but no one will be permitted to bring their unrighteous ways with them and I will not force them to give it up. Everyone can choose love or unrighteousness. It is their choice, but choices are not without consequence.
(13-15) In the presence of evil, hold fast to me with thanksgiving. I chose you because of my deep affection for you. You are being transformed by the work of my Spirit who shines a light on the truth. My Spirit is the one who opened your ears to hear the good news that only comes through my glorious Son. Because the good news is true news, rejoice! Hold fast to what you have been taught, not dissuaded by the propaganda that consumes culture.
(16-17) Beloved, know this: My Son, my Spirit, and I love you more than you can possibly fathom. It is our love and the river of grace that surrounds you that is your only comfort in a tumultuous world. Breathe. Be still and know that I am behind everything you do for love’s cause.
(1) Until my kingdom comes in fullness, hold fast to me and keep proclaiming and living the message of love. Pray for your brothers and sisters in the faith. Pray that they would proclaim and embody my love.
(2-5) Pray for one another that you would be protected and delivered from evil people. There are many people, both in the church and outside of it, whose works oppose love. Ask for the wisdom to spot the deceivers and manipulators. There are some people who claim to know me but do not. They know that when they say the word “god,” people will listen and follow them, but using god-words is no measure of faith. Even though they are faithless, I never am. Stick close to me if you want to avoid evil’s deception. When you live your life close to me and seek to model your life after my Son in the power of my Spirit, you are in the right place because my Spirit will point you on the way to my love and my Son’s patient care.
(6-12) Do not align yourself too closely with those who claim they are following me, but whose lives do not match up with the ways of love. They live from self-centeredness, not from loving service. Your works do nothing to gain my favor because you are saved by grace, but they do point to a transforming heart. Love leads to an outflow of truth, goodness, and beauty. It is never greedy or demanding; it never presumes upon the service of others, but pitches in. As people are able, let them work. A simple meal is a welcome gift to one who has worked up an appetite, whereas even a feast tastes bland to the one who does not do anything. Look around, some people seem to be a flurry of activity, but nothing gets done. Admonish busybodies to join in the work, reminding them that everyone has a role to play in the kingdom. Work hard, do not complain, and earn your keep.
(13-15) As you go about your kingdom work, keep at it. There will be times when everything seems pointless, as though your efforts to love and serve cannot hold back the tide of evil. Keep pressing on. Although some people will go their own way, keep practicing love. In time, you will end up in different places, and they may realize they have gone down the wrong road and seek to find their way back. Do not hate those who choose a different road, but invite them back to the truth as your brothers and sisters in the faith.
(16) Above all, know that my peace always surrounds you. I am with you in all circumstances. Open your eyes to see the work of my hand.
(17-18) My beloved Paul signed off on the letter, his seal of authentication, and he reminded them one more time of the grace of my Son for everyone.