Gracious Provider, I praise you! You meet my every need—for this day, for tomorrow, for eternity. Show me new ways to express my gratitude.
Read 2 THESSALONIANS 1
1 Paul, Silas[a] and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving and Prayer
3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters,[b] and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. 4 Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.
5 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. 6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and 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. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on 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.
11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 12 We 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.[c]
- 2 Thessalonians 1:1 Greek Silvanus, a variant of Silas
- 2 Thessalonians 1:3 The Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family; also in 2:1, 13, 15; 3:1, 6, 13.
- 2 Thessalonians 1:12 Or God and Lord, Jesus Christ
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
God, our teacher and our guide, gave his Word as a ‘lamp to my feet and a light for my path.’1
Does this passage make you feel uncomfortable, with its apocalyptic imagery of ‘everlasting destruction’ (v. 9)? Before we look more closely at it, acknowledge your feelings honestly to God and reread the above Meditation.
I hope most of us never experience the persecution and suffering the Thessalonian Christians endured, but if we did—or do—it’s easier to understand why Paul might be concerned to assure them that God would come and bring justice on earth. They might easily have started wondering: are we suffering because God has rejected us? Or forgotten us? Philosophical debate at the time was questioning the idea of divine judgment.2 Accordingly, Paul acts swiftly to reassure the Thessalonians that their perseverance under suffering is evidence that they are ‘worthy of the kingdom of God’ (v. 5) and that God in Jesus Christ will not fail to bring them justice and relief on the day he comes in glory. It’s important to read the references to punishment in this light. Paul’s focus is on ‘those who trouble’ the Thessalonians (v. 6) receiving their just punishment. For ‘God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.’3 For God to be good and loving, he must be just.
In 2020, Mina Smallman’s daughters were murdered in London. She strove for justice. Yet she also spoke of her ability to forgive the killer as being God’s gift, enabling her to be free.4 We are able to hold these responses together because the Lord Jesus, who brings justice for the afflicted, is also the one who died upon the cross. Jesus leads the Thessalonians, and us, in enduring suffering with faith. We trust in him, not ourselves, for salvation and ultimate justice.
May God make us worthy of his calling. By his power, may he bring to fruition our every desire for goodness and every deed prompted by faith (v. 11).
God in heaven, give me eyes of faith that see things as you do. Help me to know your presence in ever-increasing measure.
Last Updated on February 13, 2024 by kingstar