2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 Bible Study and Commentary
Last time Paul was so happy with the church in Thessalonica that he said he was obligated to give thanks to God for them. Apparently the persecution was growing but these believers endured and did what God would want them to do.
5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:
6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
So apparently the church in Thessalonica was facing heavy persecution and and they were wondering if they had missed the rapture and the tribulation period had already started. It also appears that the church might have been asking, how could God allow His church to be persecuted like this. Is it just?
Verse 5 refers back to verse 4.
4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:
Paul was saying that he was telling other churches about this church and was even bragging about it or basking in its glory. Verse 5 states that it is apparent that the persecution that you are enduring is evidence that God is working in you, and that you are saved. God sometimes allows tribulation and persecution in our lives to make us stronger, or to make us more like Jesus. Those that are saved, have the Holy Spirit living within, and thus have the power to endure the troubles. Not only were these people enduring, but they were mastering the test. They continued to love, and work despite the persecution. Only those that are saved and let God work through them could endure and excel like this. In other words, this is evidence that God truly did save them and is working in their lives. True believers do suffer for the kingdom and for the cause of Christ.
Philippians 1:29 – “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake”
Paul is trying to get them to understand that they were declared at salvation to be worthy of the kingdom because of what Christ has already done for them. The persecution that comes your way is because you are a Christian.
Also, the persecution against them is mounting up evidence for God’s righteous judgment of these persecutors and unbelievers. In other words, God sees what is going on, and he will be not only a judge but be a witness at the judgment. In verse 6 we see that God will pay the persecutors back for what they have done. In other words they will get what they are owed.
This is also a mirror image of what is to come. On earth we Christians are suffering, tempted, and under trial, but one day the opposite will be true. Those that are persecuting, will suffer, and be on trial.
There might have been the question from some, how could God allow this to happen in our life. How is it that those that persecute us can get away with their hatred towards the church? Well Paul reassures the church that those that persecuted them, will face judgment when the Lord returns to earth after the tribulation period. God sees what is going on and those that don’t know the Lord and those that didn’t believe the Gospel will be separated from God for all eternity and face everlasting punishment.
I don’t know about you, but the idea of being separated from God from all eternity breaks my heart. I don’t ever want to be separated from Him. As a believer we know we can’t be separated from God. We should take rest in that fact. Unfortunately those that don’t know God, don’t understand the peace and comfort we take in knowing God, and having a relationship with him. We should let them know.
Here then lies another great truth. If we as believers believe that Jesus will judge unbelievers as stated in verses 6 – 9, and we believe he is just in doing so, then why do we doubt his justice now? Does God change? No. The God that will judge righteously in the future is just today. We as Christians have to settle on one big fact. God is God, and we aren’t. He can do with me what he wants for his purpose and plan. God is just today, and God will be just in the future.
In verse 7 Paul says to those that are troubled rest with us. Why?
Because the Lord will return and set things right. The word rest is a release of tension, like letting easing back on a taught bow string. We should take comfort and relief in this fact. Our rest comes when Jesus comes back.
Verse 10 tells us that when Jesus comes back to earth to rule and reign that He will be glorified in us. In other words, people will give God the glory for what they see in us, His saints. We will reflect the glory of God.
Let God use you in any way he sees fit. Don’t just get through the tough times, but learn from them. Let God make you what he wants you to be. It will be worth it.