A friend recently asked what I thought about 2 Thessalonians 1:11, “Therefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power,” (NKJV)
Well, in and of itself, I wasn’t sure, so I went back and read the beginning of the chapter. Paul, the writer, thanks God for these Thessalonians because their “faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you abounds toward each other.” So much so that he boasts about them to the other churches because these things are evident, along with patience and faith, while they are going through persecutions and tribulations.
Young’s Literal Translation says it like this, “for which also we do pray always for you, that our God may count you worthy of the calling, and may fulfill all the good pleasure of goodness, and the work of the faith in power,“
To be honest, this verse confuses me.
First, we, without Christ, will never be worthy. But because Paul is writing to the church, we have to assumed they are Christians. Perhaps they haven’t yet made it to that place where they can fulfill God’s call on them.
The Israelites wandering the desert is an example. They weren’t ready for the Promised Land. They had to go around the mountain a few times so that a new generation could be raised up that would be capable of fulfilling the call to a new land.
Paul, when he was still Saul, spent months, if not years (I don’t recall exactly how long at the moment) after his conversion before he started his ministry.
Even Jesus, after his baptism, spent forty days in the desert preparing for his call, and thirty years of growing up before that.
Why should the Thessalonians, or we ourselves, be any different?
Then we move on to the next section. This also confuses me. “may fulfill all the good pleasure of goodness, and the work of the faith in power,” or His goodness. The New Living Translation says it this way, “And we pray that God, by his power, will fulfill all your good intentions and faithful deeds.“
I have to stop for a second and mention the word POWER here. This word in the Greek is dunamis. BibleStudyTools.com says dunamis means:
- strength power, ability
- inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth
- power for performing miracles
- moral power and excellence of soul
- the power and influence which belong to riches and wealth
- power and resources arising from numbers
- power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, hosts
So, in studying this verse, I discovered a thing or two. When we’re ready, aka worthy of our calling, God WANTS to fulfill our good intentions and faithful deeds with HIS strength and power.
And I can’t help but to add the last verse of the chapter, verse 12, “Then everyone will give honor to the name of our Lord Jesus because of you, and you will be honored along with him. This is all made possible because of the undeserved favor of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
Well, doesn’t that just say it all. For His glory and honor. I certainly want to do all things for that reason. It’s in my heart to, anyway, though my flesh gets in the way regularly.
Thoughts on this verse? On my ramblings? Let’s chat.