Paul is writing to a persecuted church awaiting the advent of Jesus Christ. According to the British Foreign Office, Christians are the most persecuted people on earth today. What encouragements does Paul give the Thessalonian Christians about God’s justice in their hardships or in ours? What boldness are we able to access as we lay our lives down in the service of a greater King and Kingdom than the Kingdoms of this world? [Audio | Notes]
2 Thessalonians 1.1-12 | God’s justice
The church under pressure from within and without
We boast about your perseverance (1-4)
This is evidence that God’s judgement is right (5-10)
- Suffering for the Kingdom of God
- God’s justice and mercy in justice
We pray that God may make you worthy of his calling (11-12)
- Every desire for goodness and deed prompted by faith
- The Lord Jesus glorified in you and you in him
For further thought
Q: What pressures are on the churches in our city to conform to our culture today? How are we also being our own worst enemy?
Q: The Thessalonian church responded to persecution by growing in faith, love and endurance. Jesus warned us that those who follow him will be persecuted, Paul wrote that all who live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. Why? What is your response to different kinds of persecution?
Q: The Thessalonian Christians are persecuted for pursuing what is right and believing what is true about God, yet they still endure as Christians and this is a sign to them of God’s justice at work in them. That justice is also at work in their persecutors who live with the consequences of having chosen to cut themselves off from what is right to do and what is true about God. Paul reminds us that the choice of God and our choice to either face him, in the grace of Christ, or deny him, in our own pride, plays out into eternity. How is God’s work in the persecuted Thessalonians evidence of his justice? How is the punishment described evidence of justice or even mercy? How do love and justice work together in Christian teaching?
Q: Why is it strange for us to think God wants to glorify us in Christ? What are the gifts of grace Paul prays the Thessalonians will receive as signs of their calling in Christ? Why does a persecuted church need these signs and assurances?