The recipients of Paul’s letter were Christians. They knew something of God’s holy. law. They recognized their failures to walk in God’s holy ways. Through the ministry of apostles, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, they had learned of God’s Gospel. They heard how Jesus actively earned the righteousness they needed. In addition, they heard how Jesus received the just damnation due to their wickedness. They heard, they agreed, and they rested in the finished work of God on their behalf. They proved to have saving faith. They repented from self-righteousness and turned to the Son. And as a result, they were declared and made blameless saints by the Just and Holy God.
However, these sons and daughters of the God, they were hurting. Perhaps, upon coming to Christ, their lives got better for a season. However, the world, the flesh, and the devil made life tough for these saints. Their lives became filled with opposition, suffering, persecution, and much tribulation.
In addition, their lives were filled with confusion. Someone had taught them falsely. Someone had led many of them to believe Jesus had come back to earth, and they had missed his second coming. And apparently, weight was added to this false teaching as someone wrote a counterfeit letter in Paul’s name.
Therefore, Paul wrote to set the record straight. They were brothers and sisters in the family of God. They were members of the church of Jesus Christ. Grace, peace, faith, love, and perseverance were theirs by the grace of God. They were not to look at their persecutions and afflictions and reason something was wrong. (1:1-4)
Paul then continued to set the record straight. He wanted them to see their persecution, affliction, and suffering were badges of honor.
2 Thessalonians 1:5 This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering.
Throughout the Old Testament, God’s favorite saints were those well acquainted with trials. God’s only begotten Son was a “Man of Sorrows,” and he promised tribulation would befall his followers. All the Apostles were oppressed and afflicted, and Paul was not the exception. He had shed his own bucket of blood and tears. Therefore, Paul was the perfect man to encourage his Thessalonian family. Their persecutions and afflictions did not prove God had abandoned them. It was just the opposite. Their spiritual tribulation proved they were worthy children of the Father, treated just like the Son, treated like sons.
Then, Paul reminded them of Christ’s Second Coming and the retribution they would escape. He continued on …
2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 … Since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you … when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day …
Those who were not “brothers,” and those who had not received God’s “grace, peace, faith, love, and perseverance;” those who “did not know God” and refused to “obey the Gospel of the Lord Jesus,” they were going to loath the Second Coming of Jesus. On that day, it would not be glorious; it would be ghastly as they received their just reward. On that day, they would see Jesus coming from his throne in heaven, he would be revealed in blazing fire, and he would be accompanied by a multitude of heavenly hosts showing forth his power. And on that day, Lord Sabbath or the Lord of Hosts would give all antichrists affliction, vengeance, suffering, punishment, eternal excommunication, and eternal destruction. For these it was the Second Coming and then hell.
Contrarily, this was not the case for his brothers and sisters. Their lot or inheritance was difference. While some, on the day of Christ’s coming would receive retaliation, they would receive relief or rest. Paul wrote …
2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 … Since indeed God considers it just to … grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven … when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.
On that glorious day, they would see their Best Friend, Savior, Elder Brother and Groom. Jesus would appear in all his glory, and it would be marvelous to behold. They had not missed this apocalyptic event. This had not happened yet. Paradise was over the horizon.
Paul then led his readers in prayer. And notice, he didn’t pray that they would do anything at this point. He did not pray that they might perform well enough to stay in the Father’s good stead. No, he prayed that God might do something for them; he prayed a prayer of grace …
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 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. (2 Thessalonians 1:5-12)
May God go to work.
May God make you worthy of his calling.
May God empower your good works of faith.
May God glorify the name of the Lord Jesus in you.
May God, the Father and the Son, according to their grace, glorify you on that Glorious Day.
Non-Christian friends, please believe the scriptures, believe the love of God towards sinners, believe the merit of Jesus, believe the satisfaction of the Judge, and call upon Christ. Be saved. Come join the family. The Second Coming can be a glorious day for you too. Why would you perish and be damned?
Christian friends, regardless of the wacky things happening in 2020, God has set his affection on you. Do not let the current state of the world cause you to doubt his affection. Do not consider your sufferings, afflictions, persecutions, trials, and tribulations to be signs of his displeasure. He has set his affection on you. He is with you in the midst of your storm today. And he has an incredible eternal experience waiting for you over the horizon. Suffer today. Cry a river of tears. Call out for relief. Look for justice. But do not doubt and disbelieve. All will be made right at the Lord’s Second Coming.
Christian friends, let’s tell people the truth and see people come out of the darkness and into God’s glorious light. Let’s not forget evangelism!