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, 17comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.
Yesterday we looked at ‘our Lord Jesus Christ’ and ‘God our Father’ with special reference to the Lord’s prayer. Today Paul tells us that the Father and the Son love us: actually that they loved us – it’s something that has already been acted on. How? Jesus already died on the cross to become our Savior and rose from death to give us eternal life. He showed his matchless love for each one of us, no matter who we are, by that sacrifice. He suffered in our place; the Bible says that on that cross he bore our sins and carried our sorrows. Whatever hurt we may have caused others, and whatever sorrow this hard world has brought us, he took all that and more on himself. He died so we could live, he paid our ransom so we could be set free, he rescued us from sin, death and evil.
And his death and resurrection open the door so we can receive eternal comfort and good hope. This world does have grief and sorrow, but we can trust in Jesus and receive eternal life with him, and he promises that there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain – that he will wipe every tear from our eyes. That’s the eternal comfort that can be found in Jesus.
This is the grounds of our hope: we can trust that what Jesus did for us and what He offers is not just a story or history, but the real deal by which we are saved. And this is ‘good’ hope because, as Paul says, it’s through grace. It does not depend on us somehow getting our act together and qualifying for eternal life or for present help: it is a free gift, freely given by a loving Father who longs for his children in this dark world to find life and light and forgiveness and renewal in him.