Tuesday 20th October 2020 – 2 Thessalonians – Punishment of the Wicked
2 Thessalonians 1: 5 – 12
This is evidence of the righteous judgement of God, and is intended to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering. For it is indeed just of God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to the afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 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. These will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes to be glorified by his saints and to be marvelled at on that day among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. To this end we always pray for you, asking that our God will make you worthy of his call and will fulfil by his power every good resolve and work of faith, 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.
As a non-scientist, I find seeds amazing. They start covered up by soil, buried as if dead. Yet the longing for sunlight is so strong, that they push through, determined to find the sun.
Humans are not so different. Some days we want to stay hidden underneath our duvets. We sigh, “God, there’s just too much suffering, hate, greed, anger, apathy, just too much to do… How long oh LORD?” Yet something or someone draws us up from underneath our duvets. Maybe work? Maybe a loved one? Maybe hunger?
“Just have hope” people might say. “Be more positive.”
No – I want to be honest here. When the world does not look like the kingdom community of God that we pray and work towards every day, when the injustice and hate in the world scream louder than the whispers of kindness and mercy, it is difficult to maintain a perspective of hope. Even for Christians – the people who are meant to embody the hope of Christ – hope can be difficult to find or even see sometimes.
In this part of this letter to the Thessalonians, the author is reminding the people what Christian hope looks like – “the righteous judgement of God.” That Greek word often translated at righteous, also means just. After all, how could something be right in God’s eyes and not just? God’s people have longed for the righteous judgement of God all throughout the story of scripture, and here we see that Jesus returning will finally bring that righteous judgment about.
The author doesn’t write these words to scare the Thessalonians into submission to God. The author is NOT saying, “Follow God’s rules or Jesus is gonna get you with his mighty flaming angels.” Rather, the author is saying, “Keep pushing your way through the soil. Keep growing in Christ. God’s glory will shine. You will see it.”
Help us to see you when we can’t.
When our path seems hidden, help us to keep moving towards your justice, righteousness and kindness.