Writing to believers enduring persecution for their faith and wanting to encourage and fortify them the apostle Paul lifts their gaze to the future horizon – the great Day of Jesus Christ’s return.
Right thinking or understanding about the impending return of Jesus will help one to know how to live today and tomorrow. A biblical and eternal perspective focusses us on what’s truly important and fortifies us in the present realities which might be hard.
‘God considers it just to repay…’
Have you ever questioned the revealed will of God or the revelation of God’s ways in Scripture? I am astounded how commonplace this is these days. People read something in Scripture only to then react with statements like;
- ‘Well I’m not happy with that!’ or
‘I don’t think that’s fair/right/loving.’
- And yet Scripture never apologizes for God, never tries to defend God. Here in our passage, it says that;
“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.”(1 Thessalonians 1:6-7)
A passage like this calls one to decide whether or not Scripture has authority over our thoughts and questions over our preferences.
Someone once said to me; “Well my Jesus would never…” To speak like this is tantamount to making your own god (idol). But then the god you made is not the God of Scripture!
God considers it just to repay evil for the evil done to His beloved children and therefore, it is just.
Are you wrongfully accused or mistreated in some way? God will repay that person. You don’t have to try to take revenge or fight back or defend yourself; God will do it, He will repay that person for their wrong.
And when will this happen? At the Day of Jesus’ second coming. You might not see the wrong being righted in your lifetime, but you can know God will vindicate you.
Only Two Groups of People
It is human nature to want to belong to a group of people to identify with others. The world is full of a myriad of tiny groups of people who all hold on to their differentiated sense of identities.
And yet according to our passage, on the Day that King Jesus returns there will only be two distinct groups of people;
- Those who did know God, who did obey and accept the Gospel about Jesus
And those who did not
- On that Day, all other identities will be worthless & irrelevant. All that will matter is whether or not you believed the good news about Jesus Christ or not prior to that Day’s sudden arrival.
Two different experiences
And depending on whether you believed in Jesus and knew Him as your Saviour and LORD or not, there will be two very different experiences on that Day and into eternity.
- You will be in the great crowd of ‘saints’ (vs10) to whom God will grant relief from their suffering (vs7) and who will glorify Jesus as they marvel at His majesty (vs10).
- Or you will experience the judgement and the vengeance of God (vs8) and ‘suffer the punishment of eternal destruction’ being shut out from the presence of God forever (vs9) – terrifyingly bad news.
Who would not want to be in the first group? And who would not do everything in their power to urge all those they know and love to do the same by believing in Jesus Christ?