20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
21 Timothy, my fellow worker, sends his greetings to you, as do Lucius, Jason and Sosipater, my relatives.
22 I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord.
23 Gaius, whose hospitality I and the whole church here enjoy, sends you his greetings.
Erastus, who is the city’s director of public works, and our brother Quartus send you their greetings.
Paul has just finished warning his beloved about heresy and false teachers. We are to avoid them because they are completely self-seeking, self-serving and selfish. We are to avoid them because they deceive the heart with their smooth talk. We are to avoid them because if we fall prey to false teaching it will ruin not only our reputation, but God's, and He will be dishonoured. We are to be wise about what is good, and we are to be ignorant or unlearned about what is evil. Stay away from it!
But today's passage starts with hope.
Yes, right now we live in a spiritual battle, and we need to find against outright evil and the even more dangerous evil of false teachers. But the time is coming when God will win the ultimate battle, and He will crush Satan under our feet (which means that we will reign too, we will be part of that victory) and we will have peace. The God of peace will reign. According to MacArthur, "soon" actually means fast - as in, when it happens, it's going to happen quickly. That doesn't mean it will be soon. But it will be fast.
MacArthur sums it up:
So he says, "Look, my caution out of love is this, find those people who cause division in the church by their heresies and their lies and their deception. Mark them out and stay away from them. If they're in the church," he said to the Thessalonians, "throw them out, for they do not serve the Lord Jesus Christ but their own body and they will deceive you with their smooth talk. And the sad result will be that your wonderful reputation will be lost and Christ will be dishonored. Just hold on to the truth until the God of peace wins the ultimate victory, bruises Satan, puts him under His feet and under your feet and it will come fast."
And then Paul gives a benediction.
The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
I know you need empowering grace. I know you need empowering grace to recognize false teaching. I know you need empowering grace to stay away from it. I know you need empowering grace to hold on in the battle until Christ defeats the enemy. And may that grace be with you. And "amen" means "so let it me...may it be...may it be."
And then we see Paul's companions who were with him in Corinth when he wrote this letter.
Timothy, of course, we know. Timothy loved Paul, Timothy worked alongside Paul, Timothy stood by Paul. And we read of Paul's love for Timothy many times throughout scripture - 1 Corinthians 4:17, 1 Corinthians 16:10, Philippians 2:19-22, 1 Timothy 6, 2 Timothy 1, 2 Timothy 2, 2 Timothy 4, 1 Thessalonians 3:2.
We're not totally sure who Lucius is. It could be Lucius of Cyrene who was one of five men leading the church in Antioch in Acts 13, who may have come to Corinth to join Paul. Or it could even be Luke (as Lucius is another name for Lucas which is how Paul referred to Luke, his beloved physician and companion).
Jason was Paul's host on his first visit to Thessalonica in Acts 17, and he was saved at that time.
Sosipater, also know as the shortened for Sopater, is also mentioned in Acts 20 and was likely one of the Bereans, the OT students who studied the scriptures to verify Paul's teachings.
And Tertius was Paul's secretary - and this verse makes it clear that he wasn't just a hired man, he was a fellow believer. And what a privilege to be selected to be the scribe for Paul's letter!
Gaius was also known as Titus Justus (Acts 18:7, 1 Corinthians 1:14) and we know that he lived next to the synagogue and worshiped God, and that Paul was the one who led him to Christ and baptized him. He was Paul's host and the host of the whole church.
Erastus was the city treasurer which is always a great place to have a believer!
And all we know about Quartus is that he was a brother in the Lord.
But we see that Paul was surrounded with a group of people who loved God and who loved and supported him. It is so important for us to surround ourselves with godly people who will love and support us!
And v24 is not in all manuscripts but is essentially the same as v20
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Another benediction, flowing out of love for all these people.
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Romans 16:25-27