2 Thessalonians 3
Paul brings the situation to life for them: on one side, the rebellious one opposes God by corrupting God’s world, telling lies, and instigating fear; but on the other side, there’s Jesus, who comes from above and rains mercy over the world with His blood. He stands ready to return to face these enemies. Paul is trying to explain this epic battle with eternal consequences to his friends who have been led astray by false revelations. While this spiritual battle will occur in the future, skirmishes representing the two sides are already taking place in the church; so remain diligent and faithful in service of the Lord.
3 Brothers and sisters, having shared all this, let me ask you to pray for us. Pray that this message of the Lord will spread quickly and receive the praise and respect it deserves from others as it has with you. 2 Pray also that we would all be rescued from the snares of harmful, wicked people—after all, not all people are believing. 3 Still, the Lord is true to His promises; He will hold you up and guard you against the evil one. 4 We do not doubt the Lord’s intentions for you; we are confident that you are carrying out, and will continue to carry out, the commands we are sending your way. 5 May the Lord guide your hearts into God’s pure love and keep you headed straight into the strong and sure grip of the Anointed One.
6 For the sake of the church, brothers and sisters, we insist in the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed that you withdraw from any brother or sister who is out of order and unwilling to work, who is straying from the line of teaching we passed on to all of you. 7 You know how essential it is to imitate us in the way we live life. We were never undisciplined 8 nor did we take charity from anyone while we were with you. Instead, you saw how we worked very hard day and night so we wouldn’t be a burden to even one person in the community. 9 We had the right to depend on your help and hospitality, as you know; but we wanted to give you a model you could follow, to lay a path of footprints for you to walk in. 10 This is exactly why, while with you, we commanded you: “Anyone not willing to work shouldn’t get to eat!” 11 You see, we are hearing that some folks in the community are out of step with our teaching; they are idle, not working, but really busy doing nothing—and yet still expect to be fed! 12 If this is you or someone else in the community, we insist and urge you in the Lord Jesus the Anointed that you go to work quietly, earn your keep, put food on your own table, and supply your own necessities. 13 And to the rest of you, brothers and sisters, never grow tired of doing good.
14 If someone disregards the instructions of this letter, make a note of who it is and don’t have anything to do with that person so that this one may be shamed. 15 Don’t consider someone like this an enemy (he is an enemy only to himself) but warn him as if you were redirecting your own brother.
Work is part of the ongoing work of creation, an aspect of God’s image in us. Those who do not work will be unfulfilled and a burden to those around them.
16 And now, dear friends, may the Lord of peace Himself grace you with peace always and in everything. May the Lord be present with all of you.
17 This final greeting is by me, Paul, written by my own hand. This is my signature, letting you know that this is a genuine letter from me, and so I write to you:
18 May the grace of our Lord Jesus the Anointed be with all of you.