2 Thessalonians 3:1-2 Finally brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you; and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith.
Let me start off with a bang by saying that this is not referencing only people who speak out against God. To further clarify, I don’t believe Paul has atheists (only) here in this text. The reason why I say this is for one, because context matters. If we ignore all Biblical principles regarding what is meant about having faith, then we miss the point of the passage.
Having faith is not just a feel-good sensation. It is not acknowledgement of God only. It is not belief in Jesus only, as MANY claim. Our culture of following trends is dangerous. There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing things the way that God intended for them to be done. Allow me to give you a basic example of what I mean. This is going to be extremely brief so understand that I am not posting all the historical references about this example.
The New Testament churches of Christ would always sing acapella. It is hardly debatable legitimately because even one of the founders of a denomination was willing to concede to the very fact that worship should be acapella singing only. John Wesley (recognized as the founder of the Methodist church) said “I have no objection to instruments of music in our worship, provided they are neither seen nor heard.” Whenever I find myself in a discussion with others about the worship assembly and how we ought to worship. I always ask, “Is it wrong to sing acapella?”. I am often accused of being narrow-minded, a legalist, a Pharisee, Bible-thumper, or (insert your favorite insult here). The only honest answer that anyone can give is “No, it is not wrong.” And to be fair, there are some who are willing to admit that. Unfortunately, this does not cause them to change their minds regarding their worship.
We should not view this idea of faith in such a shallow sense as the world does because I can assure you, God does not care how everyone feels about what He has designed or appointed for man to do. The general idea that God will allow us to be unfaithful in any part of our lives is beyond silly.
2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.
I don’t know of any passage that would permit anyone to purposefully be unfaithful. Whenever phrases such as “I am doing the best that I can” are said, we need to ask this question in response – “Are you though?” There is nothing in what I have said that would suggest that we must be perfect. Perfection has never been the idea but are the commandments of God burdensome? 1 John 5:3 tells us that they are not. So why is it so difficult to only sing in worship? It is because not all have faith.
2 Thessalonians 3:4-7 We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ. Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you,
Those who deliberately disobey God are those who are being described as not having faith. They do not have confidence in the Lord. They certainly are not following the commandments of the Lord or the apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42) People have come up with their own traditions to follow because they are new, and the Bible is too old. Instruments were not as readily available back then as they are now (some claim). Even though the New Testament tells us “for as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup” in 1 Corinthians 11:26 – that does not matter to those who have determined that they will only take the Lord’s supper once or twice per year. Even though we know for a fact that Christians would meet upon the first day of the week, EVERY week (Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2). Why is this happening? It is because they are not allowing the Lord to direct their hearts. It is truly because not all have faith.
2 Thessalonians 3:13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.
If the world wants to go out and build themselves a “golden calf”, that’s OK. We cannot control what everyone else does but we can certainly control what we do. Keep your faith in God and allow Him to direct your hearts.