2 Thessalonians: Can You Have Christ Without God?

Persecution and an alarming rumor had the Thessalonians drawing a false distinction.  Paul steps in to bring it all back together.

This is part of a series on mirror-reading the books of the Bible.  You can view all posts in the series here.  They are only cursory mirror-readings and, although I give evidence for their validity, further research is desired for support.

Mirror-Reading 2nd Thessalonians Gives Us A Greater Understanding

The Thessalonians had been experiencing persecution.  On top of that, they had heard that Christ had already returned.  This led to the idea that God only favored some of those who believed in Christ - only the ones who were chosen - and they were not chosen since they were being persecuted.  They thought that only some churches were churches of God and that other churches did not have His favor (grace).

How Paul Showed The Thessalonians All Was Good With God AND Christ.

Paul addresses the issue by using the conjunction "and" which connects both God and Christ.  Paul sometimes used conjunctions to correct false teachings. In doing this, he shows how those in Christ also have God's favor.

2 Thessalonians 1:1-2
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 1:12
so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.
2 Thessalonians 3:5
May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.

Paul assures that they are chosen by God:

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14
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. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Secondly, Paul corrects the misconception that Christ had already returned:

2 Thessalonians 2:2
not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

And that he boast about their persecutions in the churches "of God":

2 Thessalonians 1:4
Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.

Paul even uses the conjunction "and" in the negative sense. Those who will suffer God's wrath will not know God or Christ:

2 Thessalonians 1:8
 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

He makes it clear that ALL in Christ will be saved:

2 Thessalonians 1:10 (see also 2:12, 3:16 and 3:18)
when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.

What Do You Think?

What do you think of this mirror-reading of 2 Thessalonians?  @@Was Paul trying correct a false distinction between the churches of God and the churches of Christ@@?  What other situations do you think 2 Thessalonians was responding to?

Header Image PHOTO CREDIT: midiman cropped from original