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“But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.” ‭‭II Thessalonians‬ ‭3‬:‭3‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Compare with:

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” ‭‭I Peter‬ ‭5‬:‭8‬-‭9‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Q: How do we reconcile these 2 verses?

Does God protect us from the evil one or not? It would appear that God allows satanic suffering via the devil’s attacks and the Word also says God is faithful, who will protect you from the evil one.

Peter implies that we suffer as a result of the devil, even from verse 10.

I actually find this a bit confusing.

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  • One may suffer affliction and opposition but without losing one's fortitude and integrity. I don't see any need to 'reconcile' anything. One verse states a guarding by establishment and the other exhorts to vigilance and resistance yet comforts with a consolation. Are you expecting the Christian life to be a bed of roses without conflict, perhaps ?
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 18, 2023 at 21:44

3 Answers 3

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We are warned in the gospels that sufferings are almost guaranteed for the people of Jesus. For example, "If they persecuted me, they will persecute you" (John ch15v20, RSV). So Paul cannot be promising protection against that.

I suggest rather that the protection is against loss of faith and falling away. That is implied by "He will strengthen you" in the preceding clause. Also by the next verse; "We have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things which we commanded." Then v5 is a prayer that their hearts will be directed to "the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ", which is again about maintaining their faithfulness.

We may look also at other places where Paul says "God is faithful". In 1 Thessalonians ch5 vv23-24, he prays that the Thessalonians will be sanctified wholly and kept sound and blameless, and then adds "He who calls you is faithful and he will do it." In 1 Corinthians ch1 v9, the promise is that the Corinthians will be sustained to the end, "guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ", and this promise is gauaranteed by "God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son". In 1 Corinthians ch10 v13, "God is faithful" explains the promise that "he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength".

So my answer is that we are guarded against the specific evil of falling away from God, rather than evil experiences in general.

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  • That actually makes a lot of sense, +1
    – Cork88
    Commented Jan 18, 2023 at 18:23
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Whatever 2 Thess 3:3 means, it does NOT mean that Christ's followers will be protected from suffering and persecution - see appendix below. Indeed, in Acts 5:40, 41, the apostles regarded their Christian suffering as an honor:

At this, they yielded to Gamaliel. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and released them. The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.

Further, we read in Eph 6:10-16 that Christians need to wear spiritual armor to withstand the attacks of Satan. Thus, God does not prevent the Devil's attacks but does provide spiritual armor to enable us to withstand those attacks. Indeed, Eph 6:13-16 actually lists what these attacks will be:

  • belt of truth to withstand false doctrine
  • breastplate of righteousness to keep us from doing wrong
  • shoes of the gospel of peace to spread the good news
  • shield of faith to extinguish the darts (of doubt) from the Devil
  • helmet of salvation to have the absolute assurance of eternal life
  • sword of the Spirit to understand the inspired word of God.

This is the true way that "God is faithful and guards from the evil one" (2 Thess 3:3), not by removing suffering and persecution, but giving as the assurance of His presence with us, and protection from losing our trust in Him.

APPENDIX - Christians with Suffer and Experience Persecution

The NT makes it very clear that Christians are to expect suffering and persecution for their faith.

  • John 15:20, 21 - Remember the word that I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you as well; if they kept My word, they will keep yours as well. But they will treat you like this because of My name, since they do not know the One who sent Me.
  • John 16:33 - I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!”
  • Heb 13:12, 13 - And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate, to sanctify the people by His own blood. Therefore let us go to Him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace He bore.
  • 1 Peter 2:21 - For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His footsteps

See also 2 Cor 1:6, Col 1:24, 2 Thess 1:5, James 5:7-12, 1 Peter 4:14, 5:8, 9, etc.

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The bible has clearly stated that Satan plan is to blind you from walking with God, so, when he Cames to attack you if you believe by faith that's if you have repented of your sins and believe in the lord Jesus Christ. GOD will put a stranded against Satan and his demons they won't touch you beyond what God has permitted HIM. Simply to make it easier for your understanding is this. Satan has seen you to be stating to be a committed Christian so he begging's to attack you so God has limited Satan to how far he can go with his temptations.

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    Commented Jan 18, 2023 at 22:39

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