Vs. 1. "Brethren, pray for us." The apostle Paul was himself a man of prayer. Evidently he surpassed all others in earnestness of prayer; nevertheless, frequently he requested all believers to pray for him and for all ministers of the gospel (I Thess. 5:25; Heb. 13:18).
His concern is not so much for himself or the safety and welfare of the ministers themselves, but for the advancement and glory of the gospel of Christ. We should pray for the general health, gifts, wisdom, perseverance and safety of those who minister the gospel to us. But in prayer to God our chief concern is (1) that "the Word of the Lord" may he spread far and wide, (2) that doors may be opened in many places for the preaching of Christ (Col. 4:3), and (3) that the gospel may "be glorified" or triumph in other places, as it has in you. The gospel is glorified when men believe it, receive it and walk in holiness before God.
Vs. 2. Pray that true ministers of the gospel may be delivered (1) from religious Jews who, with a mad zeal of law and works, do strongly persecute the gospel and those who preach it (Rom. 15:30, 31), and (2) from false brethren in the church, who go by the name of Christ but who are in reality enemies of the gospel, tares among the wheat, and have their own designs in mind rather than the glory of Christ (II Peter 2:1; 1 Tim. 4:1-3).
Vs. 3. This is said for the comfort of the believers, who might he disturbed by these words of Paul. When Paul writes of the subtlety of Satan, the presence of false teachers, the fact that all who profess to know Christ do not have true faith and the mystery of iniquity that is already at work, some may be troubled in mind and fearful of their own state. Paul is quick to add, "God, who is faithful" (to his purpose, to his promises and to his elect) will not allow any true believer to be deceived, taken in by false doctrine, overcome by Satan, or fall away. He will "stablish you and keep you" from the Evil One!
Vs. 4. The confidence which Paul had concerning these believers was not in their strength, wisdom and good behaviour, but in the Lord in his grace in and towards them, in the power of his might, without whom they could do nothing. Through his enabling and strengthening them, they could do all things (Phil. 4:13).
"You will continue to walk in the faith of Christ and will do those things we taught and commanded you to obey." Paul did not put upon them anything but by the commandment of the Lord. The false teachers bind upon their followers their own rules, laws and practices, which vary with the teacher, the age, the situation or the country in which they live. The commandments of God are the same for every believer, every generation, every country and every situation!
Vs. 5. Paul states here a summary of that which is most necessary for believers. Let everyone be directed in heart (that is, in truth and sincerity) to become proficient in two things: love for God and patient waiting for Christ's return. If our hearts are directed towards love for God and a desire for the return of Christ, other things will fall into place.
1. If we have a heart love for God, we will love all others. We will seek God's glory and the good of others. Christ the whole law rests on this and is fulfilled in this. This principle of love will overcome all adversaries and adversities.
2. Waiting for Christ will put the world in its proper place. We are not citizens of this world system, but we wait for our King and his kingdom. It will help us to endure the temporary trials and reproaches of men. It will give us comfort and joy and peace in waiting for ultimate redemption.