Reposted from Pr. Stout:
(12 verses, 1:24 to read)
What I am about to READ
- Paul will give thanks for the Thessalonians’ faith and love under affliction and persecution, locate their suffering as a mark of the coming judgment of Christ, and further pray for their faith and holy living.
MARK & LEARN
- 1-2: Greeting, identification on the Church as one “in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” and blessing. Our baptismal identification locates us within God. That’s cool stuff.
- 3-4: Faith and love are once again commended and encouraged. Faith is toward God and love is toward “one another.” This faith is also connected with “steadfastness,” especially as persecutions and afflictions come against the church of the Thessalonians. Paul here confesses that growth in both love and faith amidst suffering is a reason he ought always give thanks to God. Both pastors and hearers should always recognize the gift that is the Church of God. Paul recognizes that persecution, affliction, and the evil one will lead many astray and he is thankful, that despite all this, the Lord’s word also produces fruit. It is a miracle!
- 5-12: The judgment of Christ is coming for either eternal life or eternal destruction.
- vs. 6 – “Repay with affliction those who afflict you…” Righteous judgment is coming. Those who are afflicting will be payed back for the affliction of Christ’s saints. The afflicted, however, will receive relief. That is a beautiful description of the life of the world to come. The image this brings to mind is one of a constant and painful pressure being released and relieved.
- vs. 9 – “Eternal destruction, away from the presence of the lord…” The righteous judgment is here described in grueling detail. Those who reject the Lord’s mercy and reject the atonement that Christ has won for them we will be separated from the glory of God forever. Christ’s atonement brought us back to God and makes us one with God and unbelief rejects the means of this communion. Thus, that rejection is made complete on the day of judgment as God is completely separated from them.
- vs. 10 – “when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints…” – This is a consistent description of the resurrection. Not only will we completely marvel at God’s glory, but we will also marvel that He comes to share that glory in us.
- Lord Jesus, as we suffer from the pressures of this life, in our sins, in the fallenness of our bodies and souls, relieve us now according to your will. But as we know it is your will, increase our faith in your grace and our love toward one another to make us worthy of Your calling as we wait for the complete relief when you again and are glorified in us.
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Pastor Christopher Stout