For an introduction to this series, click here.
October 11, 2007
This second letter to the Thessalonians seems more urgent than the first letter. Apparently someone had written a letter to the church saying that they had missed the Rapture, and that judgment was coming. Paul wanted to make sure these folks were reassured that this was not the case. He gives them a lot of insight into what will actually happen during the Tribulation.
This particular chapter is once again mostly greeting:
"We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. 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— since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, 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 to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed." (1:3-10, ESV)
Notice that Paul mentions the judgment of God as a comfort and reassurance for those who were suffering. We are usually afraid of the judgment, or if we are not afraid for ourselves we are afraid for others. This is not a bad way to approach it, but Paul notes that the judgment is coming for those who persecute them. God certainly views judgment differently than we do. We tend to view the bad aspects of judgment, but God looks at it as a good thing. God looks at the judgment as the ultimate righting of all the wrongs. We are dreading it, but God is looking forward to it.