1 & 2 Thessalonians

by Sim Kay Tee

Day 24

Read 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10

After commending the Thessalonian believers for their faithfulness, Paul now offers a word of comfort to alleviate their pain. He reminds them that God's justice is sure (2 Thessalonians 1:6), that He will relieve their suffering (v. 7) and punish their persecutors (vv. 8-10). Three points about God's justice are worth noting:

In the midst of life's trials or unjust suffering, we can patiently trust our just God, our righteous judge.

Commendation and reward. To comfort and encourage his hearers, Paul tells them that God is fully aware of their suffering and will act decisively in due time. ″God will use this persecution to show his justice and to make you worthy of his Kingdom,″ he assures them (v. 5, NLT).

No situation is wasted in God's hands. He takes every circumstance-good, bad, sad, or painful-″to work together for the good of those who love God″ (Romans 8:28, NLT). Their reward? To receive God's just vindication and commendation, for they would be ″counted worthy of the kingdom of God″ (2 Thessalonians 1:5). God will give them relief and rest from their suffering (v. 7) and they will ″rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is [their] reward in heaven″ (Luke 6:23).

Condemnation and retribution. On the other hand, God's just condemnation and punishment await ″those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus″ (2 Thessalonians 1:8). God himself ″will pay back trouble to those who trouble you″ (v. 6).

God promises divine retribution against those who rebel against Him: ″It is mine to avenge; I will repay″ (Deuteronomy 32:35). Their punishment? To be ″punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might″ (2 Thessalonians 1:9). This judgment will take place at Jesus' second coming, ″on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marvelled at among all those who have believed″ (v. 10).

Our just God. Paul's confidence is rooted in who God is (v. 6). Justice is one of the most celebrated attributes of God, as many characters in the Bible have attested. David proclaims that ″the Lord is known by his acts of justice″ (Psalm 9:16) and that ″the Lord is righteous, he loves justice″ (11:7). Abraham expresses his confidence that ″the Judge of all the earth [will] do right″ (Genesis 18:25). Job, too, echoes this truth in Job 34:12: ″It is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert justice.″ And Isaiah declares that ″the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him″ (Isaiah 30:18).

In the midst of life's trials or unjust suffering, we can patiently trust our just God, our righteous judge. As the writer of Hebrews told suffering believers: ″God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them″ (Hebrews 6:10).

But those words of comfort also came with a challenge to persevere in the faith, in the very next verse: ″We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end″ (v. 11).

Think through:

How would knowing that God is just encourage and enable you to cope with life's challenges and injustice?

What does 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 teach about Jesus' return?




About Author

Sim Kay Tee is a Bible teacher and writer of Our Daily Bread Ministries. Based in Singapore, K.T. writes for the Discovery Series Bible Study guides, the Journey Through Series devotional, and is a regular contributor to the Insights for Our Daily Bread. K.T. has taught the Bible in various countries. He has three daughters and one granddaughter.

Author of Journey Through Series:

Our Daily Bread Journey Through® Series is a publication of Our Daily Bread Ministries.

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