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How Do We Live Now?

May 30, 2024

-Dr. J. Vernon McGee, from the 2 Thessalonians Bible Companion

How are we to live now that we know what’s coming? When you see what the world will be like under Satan’s control and the Antichrist’s public leadership, it sobers your spirit, doesn’t it? In light of these future events, Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians now tells us how we as believers should live, believing all that God’s Word says will be coming next.

Paul gets very practical and gives us three different ways we demonstrate that we believe in the coming of Christ. It will impact our attitude toward the Word, our walk, and our work. 

Established in the Word

Paul sums up the news about things to come with a blessing over believers in Christ Jesus. “Don’t forget,” he says, “that God loves you and gives you everlasting comfort and encouragement and well-founded hope in His salvation by grace. And remember His grace will keep your heart on course in every good work and word.” How encouraging is that?! His blessing sums up the total spectrum of salvation. In other words, it describes your salvation all the way from the past, the present, and down into the future. 

“God from the beginning chose you for salvation” (2 Thessalonians 2:13). (See Romans 8, and specifically verses 28-31.) That is exactly what Paul is writing here in 2 Thessalonians. This blessing looks back to the past. Yes, God chose us before we even got here. You don’t surprise God when you trust Christ. The other side of the coin is also true. “Whosoever will” may come to God (Revelation 22:17, kjv). The “whosoever wills” are the chosen ones, and the “whosoever won’ts” are the non-elect. Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink” (John 7:37). That is a legitimate offer of salvation—a sincere, definite offer with no complications attached. If you don’t come, the reason is not because you’re not elected. The reason you don’t come is that you’re not thirsty; that is, you don’t think you need a Savior. If you are thirsty, then come to Christ. 

God chose us in the past, but now our “sanctification by the Spirit” (2:13) looks to the present. You are sanctified both in position and in practice. When you accept Jesus Christ as your own Savior, you are in Christ—that is positional sanctification. Sanctification becomes practical when it describes your growing up in the faith—when your life changes to be more like Jesus’ life. This is growing in grace, and it happens as we study the Word of God and believe it and walk it out. We’ll continue doing this until we “obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2:14) when He snatches us up to be with Him in the clouds. That looks forward to the future. What a glorious, wonderful view we have in front of us! (See 1 John 3:2 and Colossians 1:27.)

Read 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 over again any time you need encouragement. They describe the full spectrum of salvation: We have been saved, we are being saved, we will be saved. It is all the work of God and the Word which enable the believer to stand and be stable. 

His Word brings comfort and support to our hearts. It establishes us in every good word and work and will lead to the work of the Lord. Not only that, but when we understand God’s Word, we won’t be carried away by every wind of doctrine. Our minds and hearts will be stable and centered on Him. We need to stay in God’s Word and be established in the faith. 

The Word of God leads you to do the work of God. If you really believe Christ is coming, you’ll be busy working for Him. You will give an account to Him someday of how you spent your life. If He is going to be here tomorrow, we want to be busy today. We shouldn’t have our noses pressed against the window looking for Him to come. Instead, we should be looking around doing the work of the Lord down here. That is the greatest proof that we believe He is coming. 

Established in Our Walk

As believers, we are responsible to “walk worthy of the calling with which you were called” (Ephesians 4:1). As Paul told Ephesian believers, now he says the same to Thessalonian believers (and also to New York believers and New Delhi believers and Moscow believers, etc.). 

The Word of God helps us walk as “the called out ones” before a wicked world. The Word establishes a believer in his walk. 

It is one thing to hold the truth of the coming of Christ, to love His appearing; but it is another thing to walk worthy of that great truth. If we really love His appearing, we will prove it by our relationship to the Word of God and by our walk through this life. 

But we’re not doing this in our own strength, Paul reminds us. The Lord is faithful, and He will set you on a firm foundation and will protect and guard you from the evil one. Christians should hold tenaciously to this truth in 2 Thessalonians 3:3. The Lord is faithful. He will establish you. How does He do it? By coming to the Word of God and letting it have its influence in your life. The Lord operates through His Word. The Word of God will keep you from evil.

For Dr. McGee’s third point, "Established in Our Work,"download the free 2 Thessalonians Bible Companion, lesson 3.

My Turn


  1. Why would Paul say that the things to come would be an encouragement for a believer, rather than causing fear?
  2. Sanctification, the process of growing to be more like Jesus, is accomplished in the life of a believer by the Holy Spirit. How can you cooperate today with His work in your life? Name one thing—and then go do it.
  3. It’s important for believers to understand the Word of God, but this can be a lot of work. What do you need to do to understand the Bible better?
  4. In your own words, what does walking worthy of your calling look like in your life?
  5. Imagine you had been one of the original recipients of the letter of 2 Thessalonians. What kind of impact would this message have on your life?