The ideas of vocation and calling have been vanquished from our thinking in recent years. We’re now far more comfortable with a job, occupation or career. Personally I attribute this shift to the fact that a calling requires a Caller (note the cap C) – and we no longer want anything to do with such a being. Nonetheless, if we accept the Caller’s existence, a calling gives meaning to our work, making it more of a vocation than anything else.
The church in the Western World is not very well in tune with the reality of the supernatural. Our regular assumptions cause us to associate supernatural activity with tabloid headlines, superstition or weirdos. Paul wouldn’t want it that way.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:13 it says that “God from the beginning chose you for salvation through … belief in the truth.” People often find it difficult to reconcile these two things – God’s choosing us and our believing the truth. One way proposed out of the dilemma is to consider the various types of knowledge entailed in God’s omniscience. Middle knowledge in particular seems relevant to this question. This is a brief attempt to explain it.
Does history have a direction or is it continually moving in cycles? Does God really have a plan and, if so, is it possible to even remotely understand it? A study of Bible prophecy provides satisfactory answers to those questions if we are willing to take the time to hear God out. We may not be able to know the future thoroghly, but today’s passage points us to one of the Bible’s primary prophetic themes.
When I got to Horizon in San Diego in 1983 it seems to me like the perfect church. It’s still unclear, but it may have gone downhill from the moment I started attending. Honestly, we’re probably all aware by now that the perfect church doesn’t exist. Still the Bible does give us an idea of what we should shoot for – things we can do to make our own church better. As churches go, the one in Thessalonica was pretty good, so this chapter gives us a number of characteristics (I counted 14) that a model church ought to have.
If you have ever found Bible Prophecy challenging or confusing, you are not the first. The Thessalonians had the same problem – and they were taught personally by Paul. So Paul writes this letter to correct some of their misconceptions and encourage them to live like they really know Jesus.