We continue to give [our] thanks to God concerning you brothers (and sisters), and it is quite right for us to do so because your faith grows by leaps and bounds, and your love for each other is overflowing, so that we find ourselves commending you in the churches of God for your endurance and faith in the face of persecution and the [related] afflictions which you have had to endure. These are a clear sign of God's righteous judgement; you have been deemed worthy to suffer on behalf of God's kingdom since [you can be sure] that justice in God's terms will measure out recompense [both] to those who trouble you and to you who are afflicted, as you rest [your case] with us with the revelatory hope of the Lord Jesus from Heaven with His mighty messengers who, in flames of [purifying] fire, will deal out complete justice to those who do not respect God nor pay heed to the Good News of our Lord Jesus, and who thereby [stand to] incur a penalty of enduring [and final] destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His mighty power.
     That will be when He shall come to be glorified [in full] in His saints, the marvellous works esteemed by all who have believed because our testimony to you was believed.
     And so we are always praying for you that our God would deem you worthy of this [momentous] calling, and may fulfil every good desire He has for your benefit and of the faithful works you so powerfully undertake, that the name of the Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you [yes, you] and you in Him according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. - II Thessalonians 1: 3-12

We should not ignore the urgency with which Paul writes. The letter has not been written just to give himself something to do; it is not a matter of recreation or of maintaining contact as if it were time for his monthly letter. Paul emphasizes the pressures, temptations and conflicts confronting this church that demand his attention. Their endurance is well-known and it has even come to be part of the apostle’s message at other places.

Glory

PICTURE: Bryce Evans/Unsplash 

 

"Paul reemphasises that his prayer is simply that God will enable these believers to participate in the ongoing manifestation of the glory of Christ in their daily lives. This is the glorification of Christ in the full restoration of His image."

Read the passage aloud slowly and notice the urgency with which Paul wrote it!

Paul is keen to encourage the Thessalonians to interpret their difficulties in terms of the judgement of the Lord. There is therefore urgency in what he has to convey about the Divine oversight of all things. God has promised to ensure the protection of His people to the end, so they can leave all judgement, redress and retribution in His hands since He has all authority and His judgement will be fully disclosed at the time known only to Him.

It is notable that Paul emphasises that they are fully engaged in the full outworking of His purposes, and that the future of His dealing with them will be as it has been – He is ever faithful and ever true to His promises.

There is admonition here not unlike the reply Jesus gave to the question of His disciples in the record of the last conversation He had with them before He departed.

So, when they had convened their arranged meeting, they asked Him, "Lord, is this now the time you are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" He said to them, "Yours isn't to know times or seasons since these the Father has fixed by His own authority. But you shall receive power from the Spirit of holiness coming upon you; and from then on you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, in fact to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:6-8).

The times are not for you to determine; your task is to wait upon the Lord for the Spirit He sends to help you in your going to and fro in the world. In the meantime, Paul conveys to these believers something of his own prayers for them: “May God indeed fulfil what He has revealed of His purposes for you".

Paul reemphasises that his prayer is simply that God will enable these believers to participate in the ongoing manifestation of the glory of Christ in their daily lives. This is the glorification of Christ in the full restoration of His image. The privilege of believers is that they are called to demonstrate the blessings of this restoration now by a “way of life” broadcast to the entire creation.