2 Thessalonians 1:5-10
The Encouragement of Promise. Our testimony before man is a pivotal witness to salvation that only Jesus can provide. Wiersbe states, “the way we act in times of trial proves to others that God is at work.” There is nothing Biblical about everything being just fine here on earth for Believers. The hope we have and the promise provided is our entrance into heaven upon death or by our glorious hope: the Rapture. Therefore, when we face trials here on earth, the world is watching how we handle trials here on earth. It is a testimony to them. David Guzik (Blue Letter Bible) states, “Where the suffering is coupled with righteous endurance, God’s work is done. The fires of persecution and tribulation were like the purifying fires of a refiner, burning away the dross from the gold, bringing forth a pure, precious metal.”
Reward: As we experience trials in life, it is pivotal how we act through it. This is a very tough lesson. It is always easy to revert to complaining, clinging to sinful desires, seeking counsel with a worldly perspective, navigating our path by worldly principles, etc. This is not to be how we as Believers conduct ourselves in any situation especially during trials. Remember, I must point the finger back at myself here as well. 2 Thes. 1:5 clearly states that when we suffer, we must conduct ourselves in a manner that we may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God. We are living proof of Jesus!
Recompense: There are two aspects of this Greek word. There is the reward aspect, but there is also the aspect to pay back. Vengeance is another descriptor here. We know from Romans 12:9 that vengeance or recompense as it is described here in II Thessalonians is the Lord’s. We are never to repay evil with evil. God’s promise to us is a reward for our trust in Him. God’s promise to the heathen is judgement. The judgement of the Believer was dealt with on the cross. These are apocalyptic verses here in this section as “in that Day” (2 Thes. 1:10) and ultimate judgement comes at the end. The wrath of God is poured out on an unbelieving world during the Tribulation. Jesus destroys those who stand against him at the close of the Tribulation. There are a series of judgements following that as well separated for Believers and non-. It may seem in this life that evil abounds and is rewarded with wealth and prestige and ease of life. This is a Satanic deception for it is temporary. All this will pass away. Our reward is eternal!
It is important to note the difference between God’s love and judgement. There are many a false doctrine that tries to explain away Hell or God’s judgement for the sake of His love. Yes, God is love. He loves us so much that He sent Jesus to be the Passover Lamb for all mankind (John 3:16). BUT, the choice is ours to accept his love or face His judgement. Guzik states, “The judgement of God means that there is nothing unimportant in my life. Everything is under the eye of the God I must answer to.” Consider Matthew 12:36 that even every idle word spoken will be judged.
Rest: Our reward is rest. Again, this rest is yet future. We experience this through death (for to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. [Philippians 1:21]) or through the Rapture when we are snatched up from earth and caught up in the heavens with Jesus (1 Thessalonians 4:17) to be rescued from God’s wrath poured out on earth prior to His Millennial Reign. We are never promised this life will be easy. The Prosperity Gospel is a wicked deceit that is perpetuated by many a preacher. There is no evidence of that in our earthly experience. That doesn’t mean some will not experience that, but it is not doctrinal, ultimate truth or promised. Quite the contrary, we can find many an evidence that this life will be difficult if we choose Jesus. We must then have an eternal perspective as our rest comes as our reward for living a life worthy of our calling (Ephesians 1:4).
On that note, MARANATHA!