2 Thessalonians 1

eternalDestructionPaul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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. 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.

Observation

  • It was right for Paul to give thanks for the Thessalonians.
  • The letter is to the church at Thessalonica.
  • The letter is from Paul, Silvanus and Timothy
  • The Thessalonians’ faith was growing.
  • Paul gave thanks to God for the Thessalonians because their faith was growing.
  • The Thessalonians’ love of each other was increasing.
  • Paul gave thanks to God for the Thessalonians because their love for each other was growing.
  • Paul told all the other churches about the Thessalonians faith and love.
  • The Thessalonians were suffering persecution and affliction.
  • The persecution the Thessalonians were enduring was evidence of Gods’ judgment.
  • God’s judgment will repay those who caused pain for the Thessalonians.
  • God will grant relief to the Thessalonians and to Paul.
  • The judgment will occur when Christ returns.
  • Christ will inflict vengeance on those who do not know God and obey the gospel of Christ.
  • The punishment Christ will inflict will be:
    • eternal destruction
    • absence from the Lord
    • absence from the glory of God’s strength.
  • The saints will be glorified with Christ when Christ returns.
  • All who believe will marvel at the punishment of those who have afflicted the saints.
  • Paul prayed that God would make the Thessalonians worth of Christ’s call.
  • Paul prayed God cause the Thessalonians to be resolved for the work of faith.
  • The work of faith is good.
  • The reason for Paul’s prayer was that Jesus would be glorified in the Thessalonians.
  • The Thessalonians glorify Jesus through the grace of the Father and Jesus.

Interpretation

Paul opens this letter like he did his first letter to the Thessalonians. He thanks God for them and commends them for the faith and love. In the first letter, he commends them for their faith and love. He now commends them for their increase in both. This ought to be the path of all the people of God, to always increase both our faith and our love for each other.

Paul says he gives thanks to God, “as is right.” He reminds us that we ought to give thanks to God for what He has given us. Also, we are to thank God for the favor He has shown our Christian brothers and sisters. When we realize the unity of the Christ’s body, a benefit to one member is a benefit for the whole church.

Paul told all the churches about the Thessalonians. He held them up as an example. Paul says he is proud of the Thessalonians withstanding the persecutions. They withstood the persecutions with a strong unwavering faith. Acts 17:5-9 is an account of an instance of persecution Paul may be referring. Correspondence from the Thessalonian show persecution had not disappeared. (1 Thess 1:6-7, 2:14 and 3:3)

In verse 5, Paul mentions the evidence of God’s righteous judgment. By this Paul means the persecution they endured from the wicked. God will judge those who persecuted the Thessalonians because of His justice. When we suffer we should never blame God or think He does not concern Himself with our affairs.

Paul states while God may spare for a time the wicked, God judgment is coming. He will restore peace to those in misery. He will comfort those who suffer unjust harassment. He will pay those who oppress what they have earned. God provide tokens of His judgment now. He does so to encourage us and to give us the hope of a coming judgment. At present, there is only a partial judgment. The hope of a future judgment is not a vain hope. Christ will come as a redeemer for his people. Thus, a true faith anticipates Christ coming and judgment.

To ask and seek the nature and type of fire Paul mention in this judgment is an exercise in missing the point. Paul is not teaching about hell here. Paul is teaching that Christ will be a strict judge of the injuries the wicked inflict on the righteous. The metaphor of flames and fire is common in scripture when it talks about the anger of God.

Paul is giving us the hope of justice from God. God will inflict His vengeance. So you may ask if it is right to desire vengeance. I would say it is not. Christ’s commandment to us is we are to love. We are to work for the well-being of everyone. That is our calling.

In verse 10, Paul talks about Christ bring glorified in His saints. One of the things great about this is Christ will not keep this glory to Himself. His glory is with all the saints.

The righteous are now exposed to the ridicule of the world. When Christ returns, they will be full of dignity. Christ will pour into them His glory. Who are the saints? Paul says the saints are those who believe. There is no holiness in men without faith.

Paul says he always prays for the Thessalonians. He says this to let us know we are in continual need of help from God for our salvation. When we claim our salvation is from anything other than the gracious purpose of God, we are worse than mad. If we say we contribute anything, no matter how small, we detract from the graciousness of God. Even our faith is not from us. It is from God. (Ephesians 2:8) Paul not only says grace is the origin of our salvation; it is the totality of it.

Paul indicates that the perfecting of faith is hard work. Faith, then, is itself a work. We not saved by our faith. We are saved by the gracious work of Christ through a faith that is not our own.

 

 

 

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