2nd Thessalonians – Part 2
2 Thessalonians 1:5-12 All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
11With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. 12We pray this 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.
This section talks about God’s righteous judgment. Paul says that the believers were being prepared through their suffering for membership in the coming kingdom. He also leads us to believe we may never see justice in our lifetime, but we will when Christ returns. The reward for Christians will be eternal fellowship with the Lord and the punishment for the unbelievers will be eternal destruction, which is the lake of fire.
Revelation 20:14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.
Most Jews believed that problems were the result of some sin or lack of faith and occasionally they can be. And sometimes they are just a consequence of living in a fallen world. But Paul teaches us that they also may be part of God’s plan for believers. Our problems may help us look to God. Or at least beyond ourselves.
Philippians 3:13-14 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
They can build strong character.
Romans 5:3-4 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope.
They can provide us with opportunities to comfort others who are also struggling.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
Our troubles may also be an indication that we are taking a stand for Christ.
I’m afraid that some people may hear this, see all the trouble so many people have and say, “It’s not worth it.” Or “I think I’ll just wait till I’m old to get saved.” But Paul tells us in all his letters it will be worth it! And in fact it already is because we are storing up treasures in heaven with our attitudes and actions and our faithfulness and obedience. He also says that someday can be too late. Christ will return unexpectedly and even if it’s not in our life time, who knows when our last day on earth will be?
In verse 11 it says our calling is to become like Christ, whatever it takes. When I think of His outstanding traits I always think of His compassion and humility. It’s hard to become compassionate or humble without going through some kind of trial. I also think of His strength and courage; there’s a saying, “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”. Again – every time we come through a trial with the right attitude we are stronger people.