Isaiah 53-55 2 Thessalonians 1
“So we brag about you to the other churches of God. We tell them about the way you continue to be strong and have faith even though you are being treated badly and are suffering many troubles.” (2 Thessalonians 1:4)
Persecution against Christians was mostly a local issue at this time, but people in power could make life difficult for those who followed Christ. The Church at Thessalonica was dealing with persecution, but the dealt with it the right way: they loved and supported each other. When troubles come to a church, whatever the reason may be, the church should pull together and love each other more and more. Paul used what was happening there to remind us of God’s justice. Those who caused the trouble for the Thessalonians would face God and deal with His judgment. There are consequences for actions, especially if they are against God or His people.
There are times when the truth that God is just is comforting. Those people who cause me trouble will have to deal with God. At other times, the truth that God is just is frightening. I recognize my sin and realize that I’m guilty before Him. If I depended on my own means as I faced God, I would have no hope. The joy I have, though, is that God recognized that without Jesus, no one had hope and that the penalty for sin that justice demands was paid for when Jesus died on the cross. Paul described that situation later in the chapter when he said, “And all the people who have believed will be amazed at Jesus. You will be in that group, because you believed what we told you.” (vs. 10b) I’m amazed at the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross. I’m amazed at God’s grace that came because He loved me. I know that I will be amazed in Heaven as I experience the goodness and grace of God in a new way. I pray that I’ll be amazed at the people who repent of their evil ways and turn to God through Jesus Christ. May all who trouble me experience the love, forgiveness, and grace of Jesus to live eternally with Him.
Lord, so many of my brothers and sisters are enduring persecution and many other forms of trouble because of their faith. Strengthen and encourage them. Help Your followers to love each other more. Give them comfort, knowing that You are the ultimate judge – but Lord, change the hearts of the persecutors. Destroy them as enemies by making them friends, family even, by Your grace.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.