GOD OF JUSTICE
Lord, help me as I read your Word today. Guide me to a clearer understanding of who You are.
Read 2 Thessalonians 1
1 Paul, Silas[a] and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving and Prayer
3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters,[b] and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. 4 Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.
5 All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.[c]
- 2 Thessalonians 1:1 Greek Silvanus, a variant of Silas
- 2 Thessalonians 1:3 The Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family; also in 2:1, 13, 15; 3:1, 6, 13.
- 2 Thessalonians 1:12 Or God and Lord, Jesus Christ
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectDo you ever find it hard to match up your private prayer life and your public faith? Do you ever feel hypocritical?
In his second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul continues to encourage the church. He reassures them that it is obvious their faith and love are increasing (3), despite their trials (4). He then focuses on the justice of God. Judgment here is not unnecessary vengeful punishment, but true justice from a gracious God (6). When reading this passage, it may be helpful to remember Paul’s own conversion experience (Acts 9:1–31) as reassurance that God’s grace can be at work even in those who seem most hardened.
Living in the 21st century, we live in tension between this ancient Christian teaching from around AD 51 and an unspecified moment in the future when we know Jesus will return. The promise is that one day Jesus will be fully revealed in power (7,10), but we don’t know how or when or what it will be like. Additionally, the challenge is to work out how this fits in with daily life: with the beautifully ordinary, the boringly mundane and the occasionally glorious moments in life. The call here is to see the world – and God’s justice – through a different, eternal lens.
What is an unjust situation in our world today that weighs heavily on your heart? How could an eternal perspective help you or others in this situation? Can you help to share the eternal perspective?
Christ, I pray that as I grasp the fullness of the Gospel message, I would be able to share it with integrity, urgency and love.
Book and Author Intros
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