2 Thess 3:15 “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, 2 and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.” NKJV (2 Thess 3:1-2)


              After praying a blessing upon the Thessalonian brethren (2:16-17), the Apostle now returns to exhorting them. Prayers and exhortations work together to bring the people of God to spiritual maturity and profitableness. In the salvation of God, men are not only brought into accord with Him through reconciliation, they themselves join in the Divine workings. There is a consistent thread of this reasoning throughout the Apostolic writings. Salvation is deliverance, but it is more than deliverance. It is being forgiven, but it is more than being forgiven. Deliverance and forgiveness prepare us to labor together with the Lord (1 Cor 3:9). Although we are feeble in ourselves, we have been called into “the fellowship” of God’s Son, Jesus Christ the Lord. This fellowship is intensely personal, but it does not end with ourselves, the resolution of our difficulties, and the smoothing of our pathway. There is a work into which we have been called that has to do with the success of the Word of God, the protection of other members of the body of Christ, and the subduing of wicked men. A large salvation includes a noteworthy and meaningful participation on our part. “Kings and priests,” which we have been made in Christ Jesus (Rev 1:6; 5:10) do not live for themselves. The very nature of those offices demands the consideration of others. Proceeding upon the basis of that fact, these verses call the people of God to holy and effective involvement in the work of God.


                3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you . . . ” This exhortation is based upon the nature of salvation. In Christ we have been suited for this good work. Exhortations are a summons to do what God has recreated us to do – to become involved in the purpose for which we have been “washed,” “sanctified,” and “justified” (1 Cor 6:11). It is a spiritual milestone when we see that God has called us to noble involvement in His work. We must not allow our worlds to shrink to the size of our own persons and things that immediately surround us. God is “working salvation in the midst of the earth” (Psa 74:12), and justification prepares us to participate in that staggering work. The fact is that our own personal lives will be made the better because of this involvement. God blesses those who work together with Him.

               FINALLY. The word “finally” is frequently used by Paul (2 Cor 13:11; Eph 6:10; Phil 3:1; 4:8). It always precedes a very weighty admonition – one that is of eternal consequence. This word represents a spiritual way of thinking. It is like an extension of the thought that has been uttered – a sort of heavenly logic or reasoning. It is a conclusion to which faith will lead us, and contrasts with the mind of the flesh. You can measure your own faith by how reasonable the words that follow are to your heart – how much sense they make to you.

               PRAY FOR US. Here is a man that God “separated” from his mother’s womb (Gal 1:15). He was personally tutored and empowered by the Lord Jesus Christ in a special way, and at a special time (1 Cor 11:23; 15:8). The Lord opened to him mysteries that had been hidden from the foundation of the world (Eph 3:3; Col 1:25-26). He was given power, or authority, to edify and to build up the people of God (2 Cor 10:8; 13:10). His labors excelled those of the other Apostles (1 Cor 15:10), and he was delivered from countless persecutions (2 Tim 3:11). Yet, he admonishes the saints to pray for him and those who were laboring with him. He knew he was not sufficient in his own strength, but that his sufficiency was from the Lord (2 Cor 13:5). He also knew he was a part of Christ’s body, and that no member of that body stands or works by themselves. God uses the prayers of His people to undergird His servants. That is the nature of this great salvation.

               THAT THE WORD MAY RUN SWIFTLY. Other versions read, “may have free course,” KJV “spread rapidly,” NASB and “speed on and triumph.” NRSV There is such a thing as the Word of God quickly penetrating areas and regions, turning the hearts of men. It is written, “And the Word of God increased” (Acts 6:7), “the Word of God grew and multiplied” (Acts 12:24), “So mightily great the Word of God and prevailed” (Acts 19:10). A report of the Word of God running swiftly and having free course is found in the eleventh chapter of Acts. There certain unnamed men from Cyprus and Cyrene “spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord” (11:20-21). Obstacles were thrown down and great numbers were persuaded of the truth of the Gospel and turned from idols to serve the living God. The society was wicked, its religion perverse, and Satan’s dominion unquestioned. The political environment was set against the Gospel, and enemies were in the land. Yet, the Word of God increased, grew and was multiplied in the hearts of men, and prevailed over all contradicting imaginations.

               The Word of God “is not bound” (2 Tim 2:9), yet it is helped along by the prayers of the people of God. This is an area of especial weakness in the modern church. Rarely will you hear such prayers uttered in public assemblies. Let us be quick to participate in the holy work of praying that the Word of God will rapidly increase. This is not the time for the long-range strategies of men. It is a time that calls for the swift success of the Word of the Gospel.

               THAT THE WORD MAY BE GLORIFIED. Other versions read, “and be honored,” NIV and “be glorified everywhere,” NRSV and “triumph.RSV Ordinarily, we would think of God being glorified. Here it is “the Word of the Lord.” God has exalted His Word above all of His other attributes (Psa 138:2). Because of this, David said He would praise “His Word” (Psa 56:4,10). Isaiah promised the Messiah would “magnify the law, and make it honorable” (Isa 42:21). It is not possible to have faith in God, or to give Him honor and glory, where His Word is not held in high regard. To glorify the Word of God is to believe it, yield to it, and hide it in our hearts, that we might not sin against our Lord (Psa 119:11). If the Word is the means through which faith comes and is sustained, let it be glorified (Rom 10:8,17)!

               JUST AS IT IS WITH YOU. The Thessalonians themselves were examples of the Word of God running swiftly and being glorified. Only brief exposure to the Word (within three weeks) brought powerful results among them (Acts 17:1-3). They were not to view this as unusual, but to seek for it to occur everywhere It was a Kingdom standard, so to speak.


                2a . . . and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men . . . ” There are two sides to the coin of this prayer. First, that the message that is proclaimed will be quickly received and spread rapidly. Secondly, that opposing forces may be decidedly neutralized, and rendered ineffective. God has chosen to work salvation in the midst of Satan’s empire, for he is “the god of this world” and the “prince of this world” (2 Cor 4:4; John 14:30). The “whole world,” we are told, “is under the control of the evil one” NIV (1 John 5:19). That “control,” however, is not the ultimate control. It has been given to Satan by God, and God can take it from him, frustrating his most cunning plans and powerful influences.

               This text speaks of those who are working for the wicked one – those who have been deceived by him, who are taken captive by him at his will (2 Tim 2:26). Some of them are powerful political entities, like Pharaoh, Herod, and the Caesars. Others employed by the devil are religious officials, like Caiaphas, the Sanhedrin, and rulers of the Jews. Some are religious zealots who group together for the purpose of restraining the Gospel of Christ, like “certain Jews from Antioch,” who provoked the stoning of Paul (Acts 14:19), and “certain Jews from Asia,” who tried to stop the spread of the Gospel in Jerusalem (Acts 14:18).

               One only has to ponder the words of this text to catch a glimpse of the complexity of the Kingdom into which we have been translated (Col 1:13). Here is the powerful Word of God, sent and empowered by Him, restrained by wicked men! The restraint is of such a nature that it requires Divine deliverance All of this is by God’s own arrangement.

               DELIVERED. The presence of these men is so significant that it requires deliverance from God Almighty. They cannot be confronted in the energy of the flesh or carnal wisdom. They can be so aggressive that disciples will be forced to lower Paul over a wall in a basket to escape their malice (Acts 9:25). They can force the expulsion of Paul from the coasts of Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 13:50). Such men cannot be neutralized by human strategies. Divine deliverance is required! Elsewhere Paul referred to some “that do not believe in Judea,” asking the saints to pray he would be delivered from them (Rom 15:31). The constant trouble to which Paul was exposed became occasions for deliverance. He testified, “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; Ye also helping together by prayer for us(2 Cor 1:9-11). What a blessed privilege to “help” the work of God through our prayer, thereby bringing deliverance from enemies.

               Do not miss the glorious nature of the praying of reference. It is for the spreading of the Word itself, and for those who declare it as well. Blessed, indeed, are the people who see the breadth of prayer, and extend themselves to call for Divine intervention at every critical point. The massage must spread, and those who declare it must be delivered.

               UNREASONABLE MEN. Other versions read “perverse men,”NASB “wicked men,” NIV “foolish men,” BBE and “bigoted people.” NJB Such men are, in a sense, insane. Their thoughts are out of place and improper. They are actually a crime, for they are against the Lord. These men are also aggressive, and will go to any lengths to suppress what they do not understand.

               We learn from this that sound reason does not naturally triumph over foolishness. Men are not basically reasonable, and they are not turned to righteousness by mere logical approaches. Nor, indeed, can their foolish opposition be struck down by humanly conceived arguments. Those who carry the truth must be delivered from such men, for they are too foolish to withdraw from their aggressiveness against the Gospel.

               We also learn that unbelief causes men to become foolish, and foolishness is promoted by unbelief. Additionally, the Gospel of Christ is an aggressive message that brings out the folly of unbelief, actually inciting the opposition of those with corrupted minds. Such men will seek to kill Jesus (John 7:1), imprison the bearers of good news (Acts 5:18), stone Stephen (Acts 7:58), stone Paul (Acts 14:19), and exile John (Rev 1:9).

               WICKED MEN. The opponents of the Gospel are more than “unreasonable.” They are also “wicked,” or “evil.” NIV Not only is their mind corrupted, their character is debased and perverted. They bare in their very persons the trait of the devil, who is “the wicked one” (Matt 13:19). Regardless of their outward appearance, their opposition of the Gospel reveals they are evil, corrupted by Satan, and unsuitable to stand before the Lord of glory. The word “wicked” means harmful and unprofitable, as well as evil and malicious. From the highest view, men lose all usefulness when they set themselves to restrain the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ. There is no more wicked person than the one who objects to the preaching and belief of the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ!


                2b . . . for not all have faith.” Other versions read, “for all men have not faith,” KJV “for not everyone has faith,” NIV and “for faith {is} not {the portion} of all.” DARBY Here all men are divided into two categories: those who have faith, and those who do not. Notice the gracious way in which this is stated. The Spirit does not say, “only a few have faith.” Nor, indeed, does He say, “most men do not have faith.” He speaks in such a manner as to accentuate the blessing of having faith at all. By these words, He also explains why men seek to oppose the Gospel and restrain those who declare it. This is the condition requiring that we are to pray for the rapid and effectual spread of the Word of God, and for the deliverance of those who preach it from the hands of unreasonable and wicked men. ALL MEN DO NOT HAVE FAITH! It is, therefore, the lack of faith that creates an environment of opposition.

               There are a number of modern day teachers who affirm that all men DO have faith – that it is a principle that is in all people by nature. This perverse doctrine says that faith is released by the individual when they choose to believe, thereby enabling them to take hold of the things of God and do great exploits. This is aggressively taught by the “health and wealth” exponents, and is more widespread than one dares to imagine. It is based upon the statement of Romans 12:3: “ . . . God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” However, that text is not speaking of every man in the world, but of every man who is in Christ Jesus. As the text says, “every man who is among you [believers].” The same language, i.e., “every man,” is frequently used to identify all who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 14:5; 1 Cor 3:5.8,10; 4:5; 2 Cor 9:7; Gal 6:4; Eph 4:25; Phil 2:4; 1 Pet 4:10; 1 John 3:3).

               Our text declares that “not all have faith.” NASB There is, then, no question about faith NOT being resident in men by nature. Only a modicum of intelligence is required to confirm this is the case. Think of what is said of faith, and see for yourself that it is NOT in every mortal. The “just live by faith” (Rom 1:17). The righteousness of God is received by faith (Rom 3:22). We are “justified by faith” (Rom 3:28; 5:1). We have access to the grace of God by faith (Rom 5:2). We stand by faith (Rom 11:20; 2 Cor 1:24). We receive the promise of God by faith (Gal 3:22). We are children of God by faith (Gal 3:26). We wait for the hope of righteousness by faith (Gal 5:5). Christ dwells in our hearts by faith (Eph 3:17). If everyone has faith, then all of these benefits can be found in them – which thought is utterly insane. All men do NOT have faith.

               This teaching shows us that those who do not have the glorious benefits mentioned are prone to oppose the Gospel. The only difference in such people is the degree to which they oppose and reject it. Our text refers specifically to those who are determined to stop the spread of the Gospel. These are individuals whose unbelief has flooded their hearts, causing them to become unusually calloused toward the Gospel.

               FAITH COMES FROM GOD. I never tire of being reminded that faith comes to us from God – that is why all men do not have it. Bear with me while I once again cite these marvelous passages, which were so long hidden from my understanding. “Faith comes . . . “ (Rom 10:17). “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ . . . to believe on Him” (Phil 1:29). “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by [through] Him do believe in God” (1 Pet 1:20-21). “Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ(Eph 6:23). “ . . . who [Apollos], when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace(Acts 18:27). “And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 1:14).

               How could the marvelous benefits received by faith be attributed to something that is in us by nature. How could it be possible for the natural man, by an exercise of the intellect, to appropriate such things. If such a thing is possible, in what sense has man sinned and come short of the glory of God. Why is it necessary to save men at all if they possess such an effective aptitude. It should be abundantly clear to us: “all men have not faith!”

               Our text has urges believers to join in prayer for the rapid spread of the Word, that the it might be glorified, and that its proclaimers may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men. This type of prayer is for kings and priests It is a means by which we presently reign with Christ Jesus. This is a proper means of deploying Divine power, and we must enter aggressively into it. Do not imagine that the spread of the Word and the deliverance of those who proclaim it will all happen without our involvement. We have not been called into a Kingdom that operates in that manner. Our new hearts, spirits, and minds have been given to us for participation in the wonderful working of the Lord.