WONDERFUL THING IN THIS PASSAGE – When those in the wrong win over those in the right, it bothers us – and rightly so. God has planted His own sense of eternal justice deep within us. When we read in history and see in our own time the righteous abused and tormented by the ungodly, we cry out, “Lord, this isn’t fair! It’s just not right!” And He nods in agreement: It’s not. But it will be – I will make it right.
The Thessalonians knew unjust suffering all too well. Paul acknowledged all their “persecutions and afflictions” and commended their “perseverance and faith” (2 Thess. 1:4). He assured them that God’s perfect justice would prevail for both them and their oppressors:
“You will be counted worthy of God’s kingdom, for which you also are suffering, since it is just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you and to give relief to you who are afflicted, along with us.
“This will take place at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels, when he takes vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will pay the penalty of eternal destruction from the Lord’s presence and from his glorious strength on that day when he comes to be glorified by his saints and to be marveled at by all those who have believed” (2 Thess. 1:5-10).
God’s justice will prevail for His saints – Those “counted worthy of God’s kingdom” eternally will suffer for it temporarily. That can be unsettling, and that’s where “perseverance and faith” are required. However, there will be a day that will sweep away all uncertainty. God’s perfect and eternal justice will be unveiled “at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His powerful angels.” On that day, He will give His children permanent relief from all affliction. And, when they finally see Him as He is, they will glorify Him and marvel at Him, fully assured that their belief in Him was well placed.
God’s justice will prevail for those in rebellion against Him – The afflictions they heaped on God’s children will be repaid to them in full. There will finally be an end to His long-extended patience with them. Despite His many proofs and repeated invitations, they refused all their lives to know Him, acknowledge Him, or obey Him. “For though they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or show gratitude” (Rom 1:21). They willfully rejected His presence as their Lord and they will pay the penalty of eternal banishment from that presence.
WONDERFUL THING IN MY LIFE – Life may not be fair, but eternity is. You may love God with all your heart and serve Him with all your strength, suffering a little along the way, with full assurance that you’ve made the right choice. “For God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you demonstrated for his name” (Heb. 6:1).