2 Thessalonians: Chapter 2, Verse 16
“Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, &c.”
The apostle having exhorted the saints to perseverance, closes this second part of his epistle, relating to the coming of Christ, with a prayer for the saints, that they might be comforted and established. The objects addressed are Christ and the Father. And in each of their characters are reasons contained, encouraging to believe the petitions will be regarded; for it is “our Lord Jesus Christ himself” who is prayed unto; who is our Lord, not by creation only, in which sense he is Lord of all, but by redemption, and through a marriage relation; and he is our Jesus, our Saviour, and Redeemer; and our Christ, the anointed prophet, priest, and King; even he himself, who stands in these relations and offices; and what may not be expected from him?
“and God, even our Father;”
Not by creation, but by adoption; and as it is in his power, he has a heart to give, and will give good things unto his children: and inasmuch as Christ is equally addressed as the object of prayer as the Father, and is indeed here set before him, or first mentioned, it may be concluded that there is an entire equality between them, and that Christ is truly and properly God; otherwise religious worship, of which prayer is a considerable branch, would not be given him, nor would he be set upon an equal foot with the other, and much less before him. The Arabic version reads, “our Lord Jesus Christ, our Father”; and the Ethiopic version also, “our Lord Jesus Christ, God our Father”; as if the whole of this, or all these epithets and characters, belong to Christ, and he was the only person addressed; but the common reading is best: which hath loved us; this refers both to the Father and to Christ. The Father had loved them with an everlasting and unchangeable love, as appeared by his choosing them unto salvation by Christ, securing them in his hands, and making an everlasting covenant with him, on their account; by sending his Son to be the Saviour of them; by regenerating, quickening, and calling them by his grace, adopting them into his family, pardoning all their sins, justifying their persons, and giving them both a meetness for, and a right unto eternal glory. And Christ, he had loved them with the same love; and which he showed by undertaking their cause in the council of peace; by espousing their persons in the covenant of grace; by assuming their nature in the fulness of time; by dying in their room and stead; and by his continued intercession and mediation for them, and by many other instances. And since they had such a share in the affection both of the Father and the Son, it need not to have been doubted but that what was prayed for would be granted: to which is added,
“and hath given us everlasting consolation:”
All true solid consolation is from God and Christ: God is called the God of all comfort; and if there be any real consolation, it is in, by, and from Christ; and it is the gift of God, an instance of his grace and favour, and not a point of merit; the least degree of consolation is not deserved, and ought not to be reckoned small: and it is everlasting; it does not indeed always continue, as to the sensible enjoyment of it, in this life, being often interrupted by indwelling sin, the hidings of God’s and the temptations of Satan, yet the ground and foundation of it is everlasting; such as the everlasting love of God, the everlasting covenant of grace, the everlasting righteousness of Christ, and everlasting salvation by him, and he himself, who is the consolation of Israel, as well as the blessed Spirit, the Comforter, who ever abides as the earnest and pledge of future happiness. And the present spiritual joy of the saints is what no man can take away from them, and what will eventually issue in everlasting consolation, without any interruption in the world to come, when sorrow and sighing shall flee away, and all tears be wiped from their eyes:
“and good hope through grace.”
The Syriac version reads, “in his grace”; and the Ethiopic version, “a good hope; and his grace”, hope, as well as faith, is the gift of God, a free grace gift of his: and it may be called a good one, because God is the author of it; and it is built on a good foundation, the person, blood, and righteousness of Christ; and is of good things to come, and therefore called the blessed hope; and is what is sure and certain, and will never deceive, nor make ashamed; and since consolation is given here, and hope of happiness hereafter, it may be concluded the following requests will be regarded.
John Gill (1697-1771) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher and theologian. He was appointed the Pastor of Goat Yard Chapel, Horsleydown, Southwark, serving this position for fifty-one years. He was the first Baptist to write an exhaustive systematic theology, setting forth High-Calvinistic views and a clear Baptist polity which became the backbone for the churches subscribing to them. John Hazelton wrote of him:
”[Augustus] Toplady held in high regard Dr. John Gill (1697-1771), and applied to him and to his controversial writings what was said of the first Duke of Marlborough—that he never besieged a town that he did not take, nor fought a battle that he did not win. Gill's book on the Canticles is a beautiful and experimental exposition of Solomon's Song; his "Cause of God and Truth" is most admirable and suggestive; and his "Body of Divinity" one of the best of its kind. His commentary upon the Old and New Testament is a wonderful monument of sanctified learning, though it has been so used as to rob many a ministry of living power. It is the fashion now to sneer at Gill, and this unworthy attitude is adopted mostly by those who have forsaken the truths he so powerfully defended, and who are destitute of a tithe of the massive scholarship of one of the noblest ministers of the Particular and Strict Baptist denomination. The late Dr. Doudney rendered inestimable service by his republication, in 1852, of Gill's Commentary, printed at Bonmahon, Waterford, Ireland, by Irish boys. Gill was born at Kettering, and passed away at his residence at Camberwell, his last words being: "O, my Father! my Father!" For fifty-one years, to the time of his death, he was pastor of the Baptist Church, Fair Street, Horselydown, and was buried in Bunhill Fields. His Hebrew learning was equal to that of any scholar of his day, and his Rabbinical knowledge has never been equalled outside Judaism. His "Dissertation Concerning the Eternal Sonship of Christ" is most valuable, and this foundation truth is shown by him to have been a part of the faith of all Trinitarians for about 1,700 years from the birth of our Lord. In His Divine nature our blessed Lord was the co-equal and co-eternal Son of God, and as such He became the Word of God. The Scriptures nowhere intimate that Christ is the Son of God by office, or that His Sonship is founded on His human nature. This is not a strife about words, but is for our life, our peace, our hope. Dr. Gill's pastoral labours were much blest; to the utmost fidelity he united real tenderness, and at the Lord's Supper he was always at his best.
"He set before their eyes their dying Lord—
How soft, how sweet, how solemn every word!
How were their hearts affected, and his own!
And how his sparkling eyes with glory shone!"