Sermon – August 30, 2020
2 Thessalonians 1:3-12 – The Justice of God (mp3)
Justice gets much focus today. Many speak of justice for the oppressed, others for the upholding of order in our streets. But, even in the best of cases, we ought to humbly admit that we do not have all the information that we need to understand the events perfectly; that our justice, even when blind, is still partial and ignorant. Yet, there is a perfect justice, given by one who sees all and knows even the very hearts of men. Today, we hear from Paul about that justice; a justice that is meted out by Jesus Christ to all – to those who believe and to those who stand opposed to the gospel. Let us hear what Paul has to say to us about the justice of God.
1. The evidence of God’s justice
The Thessalonians were indeed growing in their lives in Christ, so much so that even through their persecution and affliction, their faithfulness flourished and persevered. This, indeed, is evidence that God was right to include them in the kingdom, for they handled the difficulties they faced like Christ, bearing them while waiting on the one who judges justly.
2. The enactment of God’s justice
Thus, God will indeed judge justly. Those who are persecuted will receive rest, and those who afflict will receive affliction. Jesus himself will be the one who brings such justice to the world, and will bring that justice not just on those who afflict, but all who refuse to obey the gospel. His very appearance, full of glory and wrath, will bring to an end all who might dare to stand against him. Yet, for those who love him, his appearance will be full of glory and marvel.
3. The entreaty of God’s justice
Even though Paul has many good things to say about the Thessalonians, and he clearly believes that God has worked in them for salvation, nevertheless he still prays for God’s continual work among them. Let us always do the same; praying for one another to continue in the faith, so that Christ might be glorified in us and we in him!