JUSTICE IS ON THE WAY
Lord, give us grace amid tribulation.
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]
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.
‘Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time … to bring salvation to those who are waiting.’ (Heb 9:28)
Paul’s thanksgiving and boasting (3,4) should not seem strange to us. He previously prayed for his readers’ love to increase (1 Thess 3:12) and urged them to put on ‘faith and love as a breastplate’ (1 Thess 5:8). Now he recognizes that they are growing in God. Their faith is increasing like a tropical tree, thriving in the light and heat, and their love is expanding like a river irrigating huge tracts of land. How are your faith and love doing? Where there is life, there should also be growth. Paul’s boasting is based on what God is doing among the Thessalonians as they suffer for their faith. Their endurance is a sign of their hope. That hope is not going to be disappointed.
God’s justice and vindication of His suffering people is on the way. It will have two sides. On one, there will be judgment and trouble for those who have opposed the gospel. On the other, relief for the people of God. The phrase ‘God is just’ (6) is a vital revelation. Abraham had faith that the judge of all the earth will do right (Gen 18:25), we need that confidence too. God knows all that we are going through, however unfair or unjust. Persecution is a very real part of the lives of believers today, too, and when Christ returns there will be justice and relief for us all.
Paul looks forward to the future glorification of Christ at His return, but prays that it might start happening even before then. Jesus intends that His people should see His glory (John 17:24) and that the world should see it too, reflected in them. With the second coming of Christ in mind, Paul prays that they might live lives worthy of their calling, planning, and acting in faith. This is the right way to be ready.
Are faith and love growing in your experience too? Pray that the name of Jesus Christ may be glorified in you today.
Lord, Your righteous judgment is beyond challenge. We believe that divine retribution is a righteous thing.