2Th 1:5-7 “Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,”
Paul has just spoken to the church at Thessalonica concerning the abundant growth of their faith, their charity towards one another, and their patience in the tribulations and persecutions they were called on to endure. He then tells them this is a visible indication (manifest token) of the right and holy judgment of God. For the church today, abundant growth of faith, charity, and patience while enduring tribulation is still a visible indication of God’s righteous judgment.
We are expected to grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus (2Pe 3:18), even when conditions might seem less than ideal. It is amazing to see the determination that living things have to grow. We have all wondered at the flower that grows through a miniscule crack in the sidewalk or the tree that appears to be growing out of a cliff face of solid rock. If we serve God, we are going to grow even as we suffer for the kingdom of God.
It is according to God’s righteous judgment that we are considered deserving (worthy) of His holy kingdom. Since the scripture clearly teaches that our Lord Jesus Christ did all that was required for our eternal security, it is not reasonable to assume that this is the kingdom for which we suffer. The kingdom for which we suffer is that blessed kingdom that Jesus declared to us when He said “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Mat 4:17).”
If we follow the Lord faithfully, the word of Paul assures us that there are those who are going to trouble (afflict) you. In that same breath, he tells us that it is in character with God to repay trouble to those that trouble us. This is a strong argument against our tendency to want to get even. When we set out to get even, we are saying that we do not trust God to be faithful to His character: we do not believe that vengeance belongs to Him (Rom 12:19).
There is rest (relief) for us when we are troubled. It is the same rest that Paul, Silas, and Timothy enjoyed when they were pressed on every side. This rest belongs to those who have ceased from their own works (Heb 4:10), and are fully confident in the work of God, our Savior. What greater relief for the child of God in this world than for our Lord Jesus to be made manifest in our lives through His messengers that He sends through the empowerment of the Holy Ghost!
May we rest eternally in the finished work of Jesus and may we rest here in the power and promise of God to work in our lives every day!