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2 Thessalonians 3:18-The Final Benediction

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2 Thessalonians 3:18 May the grace originating from our Lord, namely, Jesus, who is the Christ cause itself to be manifested among each and every one of you. (Lecturer’s translation)
2 Thessalonians 3:18 contains the final benediction of Second Thessalonians and is nearly identical to the one in 1 Thessalonians 5:28.
1 Thessalonians 5:28 May the grace originating from our Lord, namely, Jesus, who is the Christ cause itself to be manifested among each and every one of you. (Lecturer’s translation)
2 Thessalonians 3:18 contains the genitive masculine plural form of the adjective pas (πᾶς), “each and every one of” after the preposition meta(μετά), “among” and before the genitive second person plural form of the personal pronoun su (σύ), “you” while 1 Thessalonians 5:28 does not.
Also, the benedictions in 1 Thessalonians 5:28 and 2 Thessalonians 3:18 are almost identical to the ones found in Romans 16:20 and 1 Corinthians 16:23
Romans 16:20 Now, God the Holy Spirit who produces peace, will, as a certainty, crush Satan under your feet. May the grace originating from our Lord, namely Jesus, who is the Christ, cause itself to be manifested among all of you as a corporate unit. (Lecturer’s translation)
1 Corinthians 16:23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. (NET)
Therefore, just as 1 Thessalonians 5:28 contains the final solemn benediction of First Thessalonians, so 2 Thessalonians 3:18 contains the final solemn benediction of Second Thessalonians.
They are solemn because in both verses Paul employs the figure of asyndeton.
The benediction in 1 Thessalonians 5:28 is a Spirit inspired desire that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ would cause itself to be manifested among each member of the Thessalonian Christian community.
The benediction of 2 Thessalonians 3:18 basically expresses the same idea that the grace originating from the Lord Jesus Christ would cause itself to be manifested among each and every member of the Thessalonian Christian community.
However, the latter is a bit more emphatic because of the presence of the genitive masculine plural form of the adjective pas (πᾶς), “each and every one of” after the preposition meta(μετά), “among” and before the genitive second person plural form of the personal pronoun su (σύ), “you.”
The noun charis, “the grace” refers to the means by which grace might be received, namely through the mind and thinking of Christ, the Word of God, which is inspired by the Spirit of God.
It refers to the Lord Jesus Christ speaking to each member of the Thessalonian Christian community through Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit who communicates in this epistle the will of the Father’s will for their lives.
In other words, the Spirit inspired contents of Second Thessalonians originated from the Lord Jesus Christ and reveal the Father’s will for the Thessalonian Christian community and communicate the grace policy of God to this community.
This interpretation is supported by the fact that this noun charis contains the figure of speech called metonymy meaning the effect is put for the cause or in other words, the thing effected for the instrument which effects it.
Here grace is put for the Word of God which effects grace and specifically, grace is put for the Spirit inspired contents of Second Thessalonians, and which content originates from the Lord Jesus Christ and reveals the Father’s will for the lives of each member of the Thessalonian Christian community.
Therefore, in both 1 Thessalonians 5:28 and 2 Thessalonians 3:18, Paul is not speaking of grace at justification but rather the grace or God’s provision for after justification.
The grace of God is not only God’s provision for justification but also a post-justification fellowship with Him.
So in other words, in 1 Thessalonians 5:28 and 2 Thessalonians 3:18, Paul is referring to grace which sanctifies or sanctifying grace and specifically, the grace which enables the Thessalonian to experience their salvation and sanctification.
He wants the Thessalonians to experience their sanctification and salvation by obeying the requests, commands and prohibitions in both epistles.
Thus, 1 Thessalonians 5:28 as well as 2 Thessalonians 3:18 communicate Paul, Silvanus and Timothy’s Spirit inspired desire that each member of the Thessalonian Christian community would respond to the Spirit’s teaching in both epistles, which reveal the will of the Father for each of them.
The objectives for fulfilling the Spirit inspired desire of these three men in 2 Thessalonians 3:18 is that it would encourage the Thessalonian Christian community and reassure them that the Lord Jesus Christ would judge those who were persecuting them (2 Thess. 1:5-1o).
The fulfillment of this Spirit inspired desire would also protect the Thessalonians from the fear that they would have to experience the wrath of the Lord Jesus Christ during the day of the Lord, i.e. the seventieth week of Daniel and Second Advent of Jesus Christ (2 Thess. 2:1-12).
Consequently, they would be comforted and reassured that the rapture of the church would deliver them from this period.
Lastly, the fulfillment of the Spirit inspired desire of these three men in 2 Thessalonians 3:18 would restore to fellowship those in the Thessalonian Christian community who were not working for a living but rather were acting as busybodies (2 Thess. 3:6-15).
Consequently, the unity in the Thessalonian Christian community would be restored.
Obedience to these requests, commands and prohibitions in Second Thessalonians would thus enable the Thessalonians to be become conformed into the image of Christ.
It would also enable them to maintain their fellowship with the Trinity and consequently, they would be unified experientially.
Interestingly, the Spirit inspired desire in 1 Thessalonians 5:28 that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ would cause itself to be manifested among the members of the Thessalonian Christian community corresponds to the “grace” mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 1:1
1 Thessalonians 1:1 From Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the Thessalonian congregation in union and fellowship with God the Father as well as the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to each and every one of you resulting in peace. (Lecturer’s translation)
Now, in the same way, the Spirit inspired desire in 2 Thessalonians 3:18 that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ would cause itself to be manifested among each member of the Thessalonian Christian community corresponds to the “grace” mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 1:2.
In other words, they both have the same referent.
2 Thessalonians 1:1 From Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the congregation composed of the Thessalonians in union and fellowship with God our Father as well as the Lord Jesus Christ: 2 Grace to each and every one of you resulting in peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Lecturer’s translation)
Now, in 2 Thessalonians 3:18, “be” does not translate a word in the Greek text but is correctly added by the NET Bible translators since they interpret Paul as using the figure of ellipsis meaning that they believe that he is deliberately omitting the third person singular future middle indicative form of the verb eimi (εἰμί).
Though it is true that Paul is using the figure of ellipsis, he is not however omitting eimi, but rather he is omitting the third person singular aorist middle optative form of the verb ginomai(γίνομαι), which means “to cause oneself to be manifested.”
Therefore, this would then indicate that Paul’s Spirit inspired desire is that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is expressed through the Spirit inspired contents of Second Thessalonians would “cause itself to be manifested” among the individual members of the Thessalonian Christian community.
This would take place when they obey the Spirit requests, commands and prohibitions that Paul issued in this epistle.
The optative mood of this verb is a voluntative optative, which is expressing Paul’s Spirit inspired desire that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ would cause itself to be manifested among the members of the Thessalonian Christian community when they obeyed his Spirit inspired requests, prohibitions and commands in this epistle.
The ingressive aorist tense of this verse is expressing the idea of the grace originating from the Lord Jesus Christ in the form of the Spirit inspired contents of Second Thessalonians “entering into the state of” causing itself to be manifested among the members of the Thessalonian Christian community.
The implication of the ingressive aorist tense of this verb is that the Thessalonian Christian community had not yet obeyed the contents of Second Thessalonians.
However, this does not mean that they were disobedient to the contents of this epistle since Paul is communicating a prayer he offered up to the Father after composing the contents of Second Thessalonians and prior to the Thessalonians receiving the contents of this epistle.
Obviously, the grace originating from the Lord Jesus Christ through the Spirit inspired contents of Second Thessalonians can only enter into the state of being manifested among the Thessalonians when they hear this epistle read and obey their contents.
Therefore, the implication of the ingressive aorist is that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ will “enter into the state of” being manifested among the Thessalonians when they hear the Spirit inspired contents of Second Thessalonians and then obey their contents.
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