God's Righteous Judgment

God's judgment works both ways.

2 Thessalonians 1 (3)

Pray Psalm 28.7.
The LORD is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.

Read 2 Thessalonians 1.4-6.

1. What is the righteous judgment of God, and how does that apply to believers? 

2. The writer of Hebrews says that faith includes evidence (Heb. 11.1). What evidence does Paul cite here of the faith of the Thessalonians?

Part of the persecutions and tribulations believers have to deal with take the form of false teaching. False teaching appeals to us, either because it seems to answer nagging questions, or it offers some shortcut or sure-fire way to more temporal happiness. But false teaching robs us of the true joy, peace, and power of our salvation and encourages us to seek Jesus for ourselves, rather than for His glory. Only as we patiently look to Jesus and have faith in His Word can we bear up under the attacks of false teaching and other forms of tribulation.

It takes patience and faitht o endure all kinds of persecutions and tribulations, including false teaching. But such patience and faith come only from God as a form of His righteous judgment on behalf of His people. We must not always associate judgment with condemnation. Sometimes, judgment simply refers to making a decision and taking an action that allows righteousness to be manifest. Paul saw that the Thessalonians were able to persevere in patience and faith because God determined that they should do so, that they may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God. This perseverance as manifest evidence of their faith and of the grace of God at work in them.

Their continuing faithfulness was a model of a church living as a sign and outpost of the Kingdom of God, a model to emulate, which is why Paul continued boasting about them to other churches.

And as righteous as it was for God to enable them to bear up and remain faithful amid persecutions and false teaching, it is equally righteous for God to bring His judgment to bear against those who troubled them (v. 6). We’ll have a closer look at this in our next installment.

1. What would be some examples of manifest evidence that believers should demonstrate as proof of their faith? What about local churches? 

2. What are the keys to recognizing false teaching? Why do we need patience and faith to resist false teaching?

3. What does Paul mean that God will repay with tribulation those who trouble you? When will He do that? Why should we take hope in this?

Paul, however, declares on the other hand, that as God thus spares the wicked for a time, and winks at the injuries inflicted upon his people, His judgment to come is shewn us as in a mirror. For he takes for granted that it cannot but be that God, inasmuch as he is a just Judge, will one day restore peace to the miserable, who are now unjustly harassed, and will pay to the oppressors of the pious the reward that they have merited. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 1.6

Strengthen me, Lord, that I may have patience and faith to endure every trial and affliction, so that I may be…

Pray Psalm 28.

Use this psalm to lead you in thinking about the day ahead, that you may commit each activity in it, in patience and faith, to serving the Lord with joy.

Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 28 (Angel’s Story: O Jesus, I Have Promised)
I cry to You, our Savior, O, be not deaf to me!
Lord, speak to me with favor, lest I should dying be.
Hear now my supplications when for Your help I cry;
Receive these, my oblations, before Your throne on high. 

Lord, count me not among those who walk in sinful ways; 
With words of peace their tongue glows while evil fills their days. 
Your works they disregard, Lord, while evil fills their hands; 
Destroy them by Your Word, Lord, and let them no more stand. 

Blessed be the Name of Jesus, for He will hear our prayer. 
His strength protects and shields us with mercy and with care. 
In You our heart rejoices; You help us by Your Word. 
To You we raise our voices to praise and thank You, Lord. 

Our strength are You, O Savior, our strong defense and sure; 
Anointed with Your favor, we rest in You secure. 
Save us, and bless us, Jesus, upon us turn Your face; 
With shepherd’s care, Lord, keep us forever in Your grace.

T. M. Moore

Where do 1 and 2 Thessalonians fit in the unfolding of God’s covenant? Order our workbook, God’s Covenant, and find out how all Scripture fits within this redemptive framework (click here).

Forward today’s study to some friends, and challenge them to study with you through this series on 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Each week’s lessons will be available as a free PDF download at the end of the week. Get a copy for yourself and send the link to the download to your friends. Plan to meet weekly to study Paul’s ministry and prepare for your own.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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