In our study, we look at the difference between discipline and punishment. We will see how and why God disciplines His children and how and why He will punish those that reject Him.
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Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Paul begins this second letter and we see that it is not about him as he includes Silas and Timothy. The letter is addressed to the church but it is important to notice that he says that they are "in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ". There are many so called "churches" today that do not fit that definition as they are more based on man's traditions than the Word of God. We see that Paul only lists God the Father and Jesus because the church is to be in them but the Holy Spirit is to dwell in the church. There are even more "churches" that miss the mark on that definition.
Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is Paul's usual greeting to the churches. He always places grace before peace to remind us that it is only through that grace (which is a gift) that we have peace with God.
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.
Paul is thankful that the believers are growing in their walk with Christ. The evidence of that growth is their increasing love for each other. God is love and the closer we are in our walk with Him, the more that love will flow from God through us and others will take notice. This is a simple test that each of us can give ourselves to see if we are growing in Christ: Do you love others more today than you did yesterday?
Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.
Why does God allow trouble in the lives of His people? We see a clear presentation of the answer in this verse. The church in Thessalonica was standing strong in the face of severe troubles. Therefore, Paul was able to use them as an example to other groups of believers to encourage them and help them to stand strong as well.
All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.
A second reason for God allowing these bad things to happen is that it is evidence that God is right in punishing the wicked in the last days. Although our actions do not gain us entry into the kingdom of God, the fact that we suffer for following Jesus is evidence that we are His and are truly following Him.
God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.
Paul reassures them of the fact that God is in control and He is the great avenger. He reminds them that God will punish those who are persecuting His church and he will also give the saints rest from the trials of this age. This is all coming in the judgments that are described in Revelation 20. While we are here and going through struggles, it may seem as if they will never end but we can be sure of God's Word. That Word says that the things of this earth are only temporary and we have the promise of eternity with God without any of the effects of sin.
He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power
Paul goes on to describe the punishment that is for those who reject God. They do not want anything to do with God and so that is what He will give them as they are cast into hell. God is light and so in that place there will be absolutely no light. It will be a darkness that you can actually feel in your bones. God is love and so, without Him, there will only be hate. God is good so there will not be anything good in hell only evil. There are those that say they are in hell here and now on earth but, my friends, you haven't seen anything yet. Now is the day of salvation for all!
on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
For us that believe, when Jesus returns we will be with Him and nothing that is unholy will be there. We will stand amazed in His glorious presence!
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.
Paul continues to explain that he prays for the Thessalonians to walk in the Spirit and that God would use them. He knew that God had prepared things for them to do (see Ephesians 2:10) and prayed that God would complete the work that He had started.
We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul tells us the purpose of his prayer and that is the same purpose that we all should have for everything that we do. That purpose is to glorify God which is to let people see His presence in and through us. That can only happen through the grace of God.