God is Just!
2 Thessalonians 1:1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, 4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, 5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; 6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, (NKJV)
Paul wrote this second letter to the church at Thessalonica and sent it from Corinth shortly after the first, about 51-52 A.D. It was meant to encourage the church in a time of persecution and to clear up some misunderstandings that resulted from the first letter.
After his salutation (vv. 1-2), he begins the letter by praising the church. He writes that he and the other Christians should always thank God for the increasing faith and love demonstrated by the church at Thessalonica (v.3). Paul mentions first “faith” and second “love” for a reason. Our faith puts us in contact with God, the source of love. The consequence of this is that our hearts are then conformed to love all other Christians.
Paul writes that he and his associates “boast” to the other churches about the “patience and faith” that the church is exhibiting in the midst of persecution (v.4). Paul was with his associates Silvanus and Timothy in Corinth when this letter was written. They were proud of the Christians at Thessalonica because they were remaining steadfast in their beliefs despite the efforts of those who were trying to sway them from their faith.
The fact that the church was standing up to persecution meant that God was working on their behalf (v.5a). He was strengthening them and encouraging them through the power of the Holy Spirit. They would never have been able to endure without this power from on high. This endurance proved them “worthy of the kingdom of God” (v.5b).
Paul then reminds the church that God is just and he will pay back those who persecute them (v.6). Those who persecute Christians will pay the consequences for their sin. God is active and He intervenes for his children. Those who persecute His children can expect earthly consequences and eternal consequences if they do not repent and turn from their evil ways.
Also, Paul writes that God will give rest from persecution to the church at Thessalonica, and to all Christians (v.7). The literal translation of the Greek for verse seven is “and to those being afflicted rest with us, at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from Heaven with angels of power of Him.” This verse does not mean that the rest will come when Jesus returns to earth with His angels. It means that at that time, Christians will be in a state of rest. Christians begin their rest when they are taken to Heaven at the time of death.
These should be encouraging words for us Christians at this time in the history of the church. With the law affirming same sex marriage, Christians are entering a new phase of persecution. We will face a persecution that we have not seen in our lifetimes. Churches and Christian schools will experience persecution from the government if they preach the truth of the Bible regarding the sin of homosexuality. Christians everywhere will lose their First Amendment rights to freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Christian businesses are already being persecuted. Now, a Bible publisher is being sued for seventy million dollars as activist homosexuals are trying to change the wording of the Bible.
Christians will need to remain steadfast in their faith, just as the church in Thessalonica, in this dark phase of the church in America. Christians must continue to speak the truth of the Bible, regardless of the consequences. We must persevere in our faith so that we will “be counted worthy of the kingdom of God.” These are trying times, and they will get worse, much worse. But we win out in the end. We will find rest in Heaven, while those who persecute us will receive the due penalty of their error. God is just!
Online Bible Commentary