“But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13).
Thus far, 2 Thessalonians chapter two has featured an extended discussion on the subject of Jesus’ return and the events that will accompany it. But here in verse thirteen, Paul the Apostle will transition from the future to the present and go on to share a number of practical exhortations to Godly living. Those exhortations will encompass most of the remainder of this letter.
Knowing what the future holds should impact the way we live in the present- and unlike those who “…had pleasure in unrighteousness” mentioned earlier in verse twelve, Paul was clearly encouraged by the fact that he could “…give thanks to God” for the Christians in Thessalonica.
In addition to what we read here in 2 Thessalonians 2:13, we should also note that Paul expressed his thankfulness for God’s people in several other instances as well…
“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (Romans 1:8).
“Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers” (Ephesians 1:15-16).
“Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God every time I remember you” (Philippians 1:1-3 NIV).
“We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints” (Colossians 1:3-4).
“I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus” (Philemon 1:4-5 NIV).
In a world full of conflict, division, misunderstanding, emotional injury, and differences of opinion, it is often difficult to find things we can be thankful for in the lives of others. Nevertheless, we can honor God by making an effort to seek out and focus upon the things we can give thanks for as we interact with those who enter our lives.