But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.2 Thessalonians 3:3(NASB)
How often the 'BUTS' of the Bible stand in stark contradistinction between i) the faithfulness of God and His great goodness, and ii) the trite unbelief of His children and their sinfulness. We praise God for the many, eternal 'BUTs' in the Bible. And we rejoice for the glorious 'BUT' in this verse, where we read, "BUT the Lord is faithful, Who shall establish you, and guard you from the evil one."
Paul had just been teaching about the revealing of the coming man of lawlessness and the deception that was to be poured out on humankind. He had reminded them that this evil person would oppose all that is good and would exalt himself above every so-called god or object of worship - even to entering God’s sanctuary and proclaiming himself to be God.
It was necessary for Paul to teach these believers that lawlessness was already in the world and that the enemy of our soul seeks our ruination. BUT he joyfully reminds us that God is greater. GOD is faithful, and He has promised to establish us in the faith and guard us against the evil one.
We serve a good and faithful God, Who has promised to work His good work in the lives of all His children and establish each one in every good work and word. But we must be aware that we have a powerful enemy, who desires our downfall and seeks to shipwreck our faith. No wonder Paul was keen to remind this little group of believers that God is faithful to guard us against the evil one... that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan.
Earlier in the chapter, Paul had spoken of the mystery of lawlessness, which was already at work in the world, in those early days of the Church. He had also taught about the restraining power that was suppressing wickedness and keeping evil from reaching its fullness, and Paul encouraged his listeners to hold fast in their faith and stand firm in the truth of the gospel, because the days are evil. We all need to understand that humanity's wickedness and the wiles of Satan will continue to batter the saints of God throughout this world - until Christ comes to set up His kingdom and puts all enemies under His feet.
Humankind cannot be trusted, for man is disposed towards satanic perverseness and indifference to God. The faithfulness of God streams throughout the pages of Scripture, as seen in His many acts of mercy, His multitudinous promises of grace, His wonderful words of warning, and His amazing gift of salvation. Conversely, the infidelity of man towards his Maker is a warning bell that tolls throughout Scripture. It is a blaring gong that has resounded down through time, which contrasts the goodness of God with the perversity of man.
Man may be faithless and false - BUT God is faithful despite our inconsistencies. And He expands this promise of grace even further, for the Lord pledged to strengthen and establish His children in the truth of His Word - for we are HIS. In His grace, HE works in us and through us, for His good purpose. God knew us before the foundation of the world. He knows the number of hairs on our head and keeps our tears in His bottle.
And those whom God predestined, called, and chose, He undertakes to justify and to sanctify and to glorify. And He is faithful to do everything that He has said, for our dependable God is Faithful and True. Yet again, this amazing 'BUT' subdivides into a further token of His love towards us, for He vows to keep His children from the evil of sin and the ploys of the evil one, who seeks to sift us as wheat and to pollute our witness.
Sin and death and Satan's snares have no power over us, for the enemy was defeated at Calvary and God will not allow us to be tested above that which we are able to bear - but will provide us with an escape route, from all the worldly principles and fleshly practices that are dangled before us as bait, to draw us back into the evil, world system.
God knows our weakness, and He understands that our faith may fail, "BUT the Lord is faithful, Who shall establish you, and guard you from the evil one."
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithful promises.. to strengthen, establish, and protect me, even when my faith falters and I prove faithless and false to You. Keep me ever mindful of this truth and guide me in the choices I must make today. Use me as an instrument of Your grace and keep me from all evil, so that I may grow in grace and in a knowledge of You, and in my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, in Whose name I pray, AMEN.