II Thessalonians 1:3-11 (click to display NIV text)
November 25, 2012 (Christ the King Sunday)
Pastor Dwight A. Nelson
“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 Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.”
II Thessalonians begins in the same way as the first letter, giving thanks for a church that is faithful to the Lord, even during times of persecution. They are people of faith, hope and love. Now we learn that not only are they standing firm, but their faith is growing and their love increasing. Paul is confident that they will be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God. He is also aware of their suffering. He assures them that God is just, so there will be a time when things are set right. Those who trouble God’s people will be punished and those who are troubled will find relief. They will experience the presence and the glory of the Lord.
The judgment of God displays the justice of God. An essential part of the Christian faith is the firm conviction that God is just. In contrast to the gods of the Greeks and Romans, who were vindictive, jealous, vengeful and thoroughly immoral, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is just, righteous, holy and fully and consistently committed to the fulfillment of his will for the creation.
Mary expressed her confidence in the justice of God. Just before Jesus was put to death, the great injustice that revealed the justice of God, Mary anointed Jesus with a costly perfume, a costly gift that showed her faith that even in the cross, God would vindicate his son, God would show his justice. In the justice of God such a gift is affirmed, it is recognized as one part of God’s plan that points to the cross and to the resurrection. Mary, knowing God’s justice, acted in faith to offer a costly gift to the Lord.
The justice of God comes to us as grace and mercy. But to those who oppose God, it comes as judgment: in the justice of God all secrets are laid bare, all attitudes are revealed, all hostility to God is exposed. Read more