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Clear Evidence of Just Judgment–2 Thessalonians 1:5-10

As we continue our journey through the text of 2 Thessalonians (click on the 2 Thessalonians link in the categories to read the other entries), Paul speaks of the judgment of God.  Specifically, he states that the way the Thessalonians are living shows clearly that God’s judgment is righteous (1:5).  What does that mean?

First, God is just in counting them worthy of His Kingdom.  They have endured persecution.  They have faced tribulation and suffering.  Enduring these things and still progressing in their faith shows clearly that they are genuine disciples.

Second, God is just in providing them with rest.  In this world they have not had rest.  The persecution they have dealt with causes much turmoil.  Since they were willing to face that for the sake of Christ, God is just in allowing them to have rest at Jesus’ return,  since they could not enjoy rest on this earth (1:7).

Third, God is just in bringing vengeance upon the persecutors.  They had caused suffering and pain for God’s people and thus it was just for God to repay them with tribulation (1:6).

Fourth, God is just in punishing to hell those who “do not know God” and “do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  These are the source of the persecution of these Christians and thus God is just in punishing them to everlasting destruction (1:9).

Thus the Thessalonians living godly in the face of persecution would show clear evidence on why they would be counted worthy of God’s kingdom and why those who persecuted them would be punished.  The Thessalonians rightly clinged to the “testimony” of the apostles (1:10) and would be rewarded for such.


1. The main point of the section is to show God’s justice in punishing sin and saving sinners.  None of us deserve salvation.  It is all a gift from God.  However, when we live our lives for God in the face of persecution then the world can clearly see why God rewards us and God punishes sinners.

2. It is the call of the church to live out our lives, knowing that we will be persecuted.  This is not some optional decision we can make, but rather it is what all true Christians will do.  When we do this we are “counted worthy” of God’s kingdom.  This could be calling a lot of us out of a life of comfort and into the battlefields.

3. This will get its on separate post next week, but the question of what happens to those who have never heard the gospel comes from this passage.

Okay, what are your thoughts and applications from the passage? I know I didn’t cover it all so share what I missed or expand upon what I said, or even disagree with me.

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  1. It is a relief or comfort to be reminded of the “rest” to come. I know it is easier to put up with troubles or pains when you have a sense of short duration, and better times ahead. Much harder to put up with troubles, when you question if they will ever end. Definately the idea, if God is on our side, who can stand against us!

    The phrasing does sound like they believe they could still be alive on earth, although it doesn’t say that outright, when (vs 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.”

    Always pictured, based on Revelations 1:7, Jesus coming in the clouds, the pomp and circumstance, as the procession when royalty takes the throne. This passage has him revealed with blazing fire and with powerful angels, coming to enact judgement, to punish those who do not believe. Different visual.

  2. Wesley

    November 5, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    I think the Thessalonian church was comforted knowing that there was a reward of rest waiting them. I also think the Thessalonians expected that Christ could return during their lifetime in the same way that we should. However, as we will get into in chapter 2 and 3 they went too far with this understanding.

  3. The reward of heaven is worth any trouble this life can bring. As I grow older, and aches and pains of this physical body let me know that my time here is but a vapor, I am inspired to know that my goal to be like Christ comes with a reward. I have never after doing what God has requested thought that it was not worth it. But, I have suffered from choosing not to follow his commands. The suffering was worth coming back to be Gods child again. Lets commit to be his and serve, study, and pray as Christ did for us. Let us know that it is worth suffering to be his whether the suffering comes from our own sin or the persecution for being like Christ.
    His yoke is easy his burden is light. Matthew 11

  4. Wesley

    November 7, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Mark great message. Reminds me of Paul speaking that the suffering of this world are nothing compared to the glory to come.

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