by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 2 Study # 7 February 2, 2014 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(015)Thesis:Hope is built upon commitments God has made and revealed to those to whom He wishes to give hope.
Introduction:In our previous studies, we have seen Paul's description of a remarkable church. In an extremely short period of time this church became an example to all other churches for the way it responded to the Gospel. Paul attributes this to the powerful work of God's Spirit. It was a work that was not repeated in all of the churches Paul planted. The nature of this work was to produce a reputation for the church for its "work of the faith; labor of the love; and endurance of the hope". It is my contention that this all boils down to the last of those three: the potency of the "hope".
Without "hope", the work of the faith will die. Without "hope" the labor of the love will cease. Of all things necessary for the continuation of the experience of the Joy of Life, "hope" stands as crucial. Therefore, we must take all of Paul's comments in this letter as encouragements to keep the hope alive.
That brings us to Paul's declaration in 1:4 that he knew that the Thessalonians had been chosen by God for their participation in the Hope that He brings into the heart. And that means that we need to be as clear as we can be about what it means to be chosen by God.
I. Our First Consideration: Paul's Deliberate Insertion of This Concept at This Point.
A. It is impossible for Paul to deliberately attempt to defeat his thesis.
1. His thesis is that "hope" must be kept alive and vibrant.
2. Neither logic, nor the inspiring Spirit, would allow him to bring up anything that would put a damper on his thesis.
3. In fact, both logic and the inspiring Spirit require that his words promote the thesis.
B. Thus, we have to conclude that "election" is fundamental to "hope".
C. And, grammatically, the participle "knowing" is tied to the primary verb "we are giving thanks", which means that Paul's "knowledge" of their election was at least part of the reason that he spent time in prayer for them before the God Who is our Father.
II. Our Second Consideration: Paul's Concept of "Election".
A. The noun form of the word is only used seven times in the New Testament, five of which were Paul's.
1. The non-Pauline uses.
a. Luke used it once in Acts 9:15 to describe Paul's status in the Plan of God.
1) This was not, in any sense of the word, an "election" of competing candidates for a highly desired position or task.
2) It was, rather, a "choice" made by God that brooked no resistance.
a) This does not mean that God runs rough-shod over unwilling people; His goal is Love and His methods instill and nurture it.
b) But this does mean that God will not accept anything other than compliance; His Plan requires His guarantees of goals met.
b. Peter used it once in 2 Peter 1:10 where he exhorts his readers to validate their "election".
1) This may well have its roots in John 6:70 because it is clear there that "election" is not always the good thing that it is typically presented to be.
2) John 13:18 follows up on this remark by actually removing Judas from the "chosen" so that "election" can continue to be a very positive concept in the Bible.
3) Peter's use falls in line with Paul's claim that "behavior" reveals "election"; a concept that does not work both ways: right behavior reveals election; wrong behavior does not deny election, it simply makes it "unknowable".