“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed on and triumph, as it did among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men; for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from evil. And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things which we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 3:1-5)
St. Paul reminds us that not everyone we encounter in this life will be godly. There are those who are serving Satan, intentionally or unintentionally, and are evil, troublesome, or importunate men. They act unreasonably in most circumstances, are agents of the devil, and inflict evil on others. They are the enemies of God, haters of the truth, and opposers of Christians. They oppose the preaching of the gospel, the obedience to Christ, and resist the inspirations and calls of God. However, St. Paul reminds us that this is not the situation with those who follow Jesus Christ as Lord.
Faith is a gift of God. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God – not because of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) God is not obligated by no man to do anything that God does not desire to do or accomplish. This is also applicable to the distribution of faith. The faith that flows from the throne of God is a grace which is not bestowed on everyone. It is a blessing, not a right. It is a gift, not an entitlement.
We will encounter evil men and women in life. If we do not come across them directly, we see the evidence of them all around us. The news fills our day with information on crimes, hatred, prejudice, racism, and division. Our own families and relationships are, at times, toxic and harmful. Yet, we have hope in Christ Jesus.
“and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men; for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful” (2 Thessalonians 3:3) We will fail as human beings. We will become entangled in sin, many times habitual sin, and the bondage of sin that weighs us down and prevents us from glorifying the Lord. We are not perfect, but we serve the one who is the epitome of perfection. He is perfect. As a result of that perfection, Jesus Christ is always faithful.
When others around us do not act as if they have faith, Jesus is faithful. When we stumble against the rocks of temptation, Jesus is faithful. When we fall from the chains of sin, Jesus is faithful. When our faith fails, he never does. Faith is a gift. Jesus gives and does not take those gifts back when He is disappointed in us or when we fail Him. As a result of the faith Christ gives us, “we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things which we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 3:4)
The gift of faith enables us to live a life which helps others see Christ in us. As Christians, it is our duty and role to live as Christ to others. Our life should be one which is seeking to please the Lord in all areas, actions, thoughts, and deeds. Difficult? Absolutely! Possible? Totally, with the grace of faith and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.