Thursday, June 23, 2022

2022.06.23 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Thessalonians 1:5–10

Read 2 Thessalonians 1:5–10

Questions from the Scripture text: Of what is their endurance of tribulation “manifest evidence” (2 Thessalonians 1:5)? For what is God fitting them? How are they learning to treasure it? What else is a righteous thing of God in 2 Thessalonians 1:6? And to give what to whom in 2 Thessalonians 1:7? When? What will Jesus’s return be like (2 Thessalonians 1:8)? On whom will He take vengeance? What does “not knowing God” look like? What shall they receive (2 Thessalonians 1:9)? From Whose presence? From what glory? How else will He be glorified (2 Thessalonians 1:10)? How did they get to be in the company of admirers? 

How can believers’ afflictions be reconciled with the righteousness of God?  2 Thessalonians 1:5–10 looks forward to the second serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these six verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God displays His righteousness both in the glorious fury that the wicked get from Him and in the glorious delight that His saints get from Him. 

God is righteous to fit the justified for glory (2 Thessalonians 1:5). What are the Thessalonians’ patience and faith (2 Thessalonians 1:4) proof of? 2 Thessalonians 1:5 says that they are proof of God’s righteous judgment in counting believers worthy of the kingdom. The patiently believing saints have been justified in Christ; Christ has earned the kingdom for them. And they are being conformed into the image of that same Christ, as God suits them for the kingdom to which they are coming and for which they are suffering. Believers must not underestimate the usefulness of trials in fitting us for glory (cf. Romans 5:3–5, James 1:2–4) and making us value glory as worth suffering for (cf. Romans 8:17–18, 2 Corinthians 4:17). Troubles may tempt us to question the justice of God, but the reality is that troubles are a mechanism by which God justly prepares the justified for the glory that Christ has earned for us.

God is righteous to trouble troublers (2 Thessalonians 1:6). Even in our English translation, we can see the symmetry of God’s judgment. This is why verse 6 says that it is righteous of God to afflict the afflicters of His people. The extent of that affliction, we will see in 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9. Here, the point is that God isn’t being righteous only with His people as they are prepared for glory by affliction, but also with the wicked—none of whose actions will fail to be addressed.

God is righteous to end saints’ troubles and give them rest (2 Thessalonians 1:7). On the bright(er) side, even these necessary afflictions come to their end. That’s the “momentary” part of “light and momentary” in and 2 Corinthians 4:17. “When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,” the time for His people’s suffering has come to a permanent end. The language of being “revealed” is a reminder that He is always there, always enthroned, always attended by those mighty angels. What should believers fear from men (cf. Psalm 56)? Rest is coming. Perfect, permanent relief from all our troubles. 

God is righteous to God-sized vengeance on God-sized sin (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). Once the Lord Jesus has been revealed (2 Thessalonians 1:7), and this revelation is in “flaming fire” (2 Thessalonians 1:8), there is no ignoring Him ever again. Indeed, all who have not known Him as God will be punished by Him as God for having failed to “obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (verse 8). When God reveals Himself as Jesus, the Savior of Sinners, it demands a response of trusting in Him and worshiping Him. There are some who have not known Him. There are others who hear of Him but don’t believe. The latter, of course are more culpable. Once He is revealed, they will be in His presence and glory forever, and they will be acutely aware of how completely they deserve the destruction that comes from His presence and from the glory of His power.

God is righteous to give God-sized blessing to God-justified saints (2 Thessalonians 1:10). Finally, that which makes hell unendurable for the unbeliever in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 is what makes heaven heavenly for the believer in 2 Thessalonians 1:10. Not only will the Lord be glorified in His saints, but He will give us the capacity to admire Him, and He will satisfy that desire. Those who have “believed the testimony” are those who have “obeyed the gospel,” and the Lord Jesus will be their delight for unending ages.

What troubles are you having right now? What are they accomplishing for you? How long will they last? What will you receive at their end? What will they receive who have afflicted you?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we bless You for revealing Yourself in the gospel. Forgive us for when we harbor doubts of your fairness in our afflictions. Forgive us our impatience and discouragement. Grant us eyes to see Jesus by faith, and to wait until faith becomes sight. Forgive us for not admiring Him enough now, and sanctify us until the day that we will get to perfectly admire Him forever, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP98 “O Sing a New Song to the LORD” or TPH98A “O Sing a New Song to the LORD”

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