2 Thess 3
Ezek 36:20-26 The nations said, “These are the people of the Lord, but he couldn’t keep them safe in his own land.” Then I was concerned for my holy name, on which my people brought shame among the nations. Therefore I am bringing them back, but not because they deserve it. I am doing it to protect my holy name. I will show how holy my great name is… and when I reveal my holiness through you before their very eyes, then the nations will know that i am the Lord. I will gather you up from all the nations and bring you home… I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart, and give you a tender responsive heart. I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.
2 Thess 3:5-7 May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ. And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus, stay away from all believers who live idle lives… for you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you.
I reveal my holiness through you before their eyes (v23) Even though Israel failed miserably to be His image bearers, God’s image, God’s name, will still be proclaimed. God so desired that his good reputation, the greatness of his name, is so important to him, that he said he would keep his promise to his people, even when they totally don’t deserve it! (v22)
But, God isn’t just passionate about his name, and his reputation among the nations, God is passionate about our hearts! He doesn’t want us to stay hard and calloused toward him. He wants us to have a soft, tender, receptive heart. And here in 26-27 God declares that He IS GOING TO GIVE HIS PEOPLE NEW HEARTS. He IS going to remove the heart of stone that follows the flesh, and replace it with His Spirit within, which will cause us to walk in His statutes, obey his rules. “I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart, and give you a tender responsive heart. I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.” (NLT)
What He is describing here is the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the resurrected life of Jesus in us! That’s the new heart! It’s only when His Spirit is in us that we will / are able to follow his decrees.
In 2 Thess 3 Paul reminds us not to be idle. Not to take what God has given us for granted! Paul says, “Imitate us…” Imitate Paul (Phil 1:21) For me to live IS CHRIST.” Imitate Timothy (Phil 2:19-22) “I have no one like him who genuinely cares for your welfare.” Imitate Epaphroditus (Phil 2:30) “He nearly died for the work of christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me”
- That the exaltation of God’s name will be through your life, not in spite of your life.
- That your heart will be tender and pliable, not like Israel’s stony, stubborn hearts.
- That you would desire to imitate Paul and His friends.
- That God will use you to exalt His name