Sunday, November 29, 2015

2 Thessalonians 1:5-8

2 Thessalonians 1:5-8
This is the evidence of the righteous judgment of God – in order that you all should be regarded as worthy of the kingdom of God, for the sake of which you all also suffered: if after all it is righteous before God to repay the ones who afflicted you with affliction and to you all who are being afflicted to repay rest with us in the revelation of the Lord Jesus with his powerful angels in flaming fire while giving punishment to the ones who do not know God and to the ones who do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

Paul talks about the righteous judgment of God here.  There are two parts to this judgment, and we’ll deal with the positive one first.  Half of the righteous judgment of God is that those who are in Christ will know the rest that comes with being a part of God.  We will know rest.  However, we need to be careful here.  We may get to participate in a glimmer of that rest now from moment to moment, but we will only know the true rest after Christ returns.  So we who are in Christ look forward to those brief moments of resting in God’s arms when we can get them now.  But a day will come when our whole existence will be found in the rest that comes in knowing God.

How does this idea of rest help to make affliction and persecution manageable?  Are you quick to remember the rest of God when you are under persecution?

Second Thought:

Now let’s talk about the other side of God’s righteous judgment.  There will be repayment against those who afflict God’s people.  There are two things that we must remember at this point.  First of all, in the same way that those who are in Christ will only find true rest when Christ comes back so those who are not in Christ will only experience full judgment when Christ returns.  Those who are in judgment will not feel full judgment in the here and now.  Second – and far more importantly – it is God who will repay.  The Bible is absolutely clear on this point.  Vengeance is mine, says the Lord.  True justice will only come after Christ returns, at the time when God is in full control.  It is not up to us to get people back and to get revenge.  Revenge isn’t a dish best served cold.  Revenge is a dish best served by God.

Do you ever desire revenge?  Why do we have an easy time seeking revenge?  Why is it best to let revenge be into God’s hands?

Third Thought:

Before stopping for the night, let’s talk a bit about the coming of Christ.   It is an event promised to us all throughout the New Testament.  Christ will return.  When he does, life as we know it will end.  We will go from a time of human free will into a life either completely in the presence of God or completely apart from God.  Furthermore, we will know his coming.  He is going to come with his angels in power and might.  He won’t come as a hidden baby to model humbleness to God but rather as a champion to show who is in control.

What do you think about the second coming of Christ?  Is it a moment you look forward to with anticipation or with fear?  Why might you be able to express both emotions?

Passage for Tomorrow: 2 Thessalonians 1:9-10
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