Persecution & Suffering: 18

In 2 Thessalonians 1:3-7 Paul says, “We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.  Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.  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.  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.”

First, note that it is for God and His Kingdom that the Thessalonians are suffering. Secondly, the fact that they are persevering in their faith in the midst of the persecution demonstrates their increasing faith and love for one another. More than that, it shows God’s righteous judgment, as it foreshadows the punishment of His enemies and eternal comfort and reward of His people.

It is by our faith and hope that we can respond now to our difficulties in such a way that proves our confidence. That faith is also increased in us and in others who observe it when we act upon it. In this way we manifest His life within us and exhibit our worthiness to inherit the Kingdom He bestows upon us. (These are Paul’s words: “you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God.”)