What is the reason?

Paul begins to write his second letter to the church in Thessalonica, giving thanks to God for the faith that the Thessalonians have and their perseverance in the midst of trials and persecution. They have continued to stand fast in their faith, regardless of the fact that they have been persecuted for leaving their Jewish faith or pagan practices and instead go on to follow Christ in the way of suffering.

Paul reassures the church that there will be justice. God doesn’t allow people’s injustice to go unpunished, but instead, he will have his vengeance. God’s vengeance will come upon those who have done wrong, who have remained in their sins, and who continue on persecuting the believers. And Paul assures the Thessalonians that they will be rewarded for their faith.

The timing is important here, though. He says that this will happen upon Christ’s return:

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. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

2 Thessalonians 1:6-8

In this life, we shouldn’t expect that all will be set right just because we are a believer in Jesus. No, instead, we should expect the opposite. Suffering and persecution will come. Difficulty will come. But God will have his vengeance upon those who have perpetrated that suffering, persecution, and difficulty.

After saying all of this, Paul talks about how he prays for the Thesslonians and for their growth, for their sanctification. Paul says that he prays that God will make them worthy of the calling that he, God, gave to the Thesslonians. Paul is praying also that God will give his power to do everything that the Thessalonians desire to do in the name of goodness and in that which they desire to do, those things that are prompted by faith.

But there is a final, bottom line reason that Paul is saying all of these things. There is a reason that he gives them assurance of justice and the fact that God will set all things right. There is a reason that Paul prays God will fulfill their desires for what is right. That reason is that Jesus will be glorified.

We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 1:12

Sometimes we say things like this too flippantly. Sometimes we are too nonchalant. “Yes, of course, I want Jesus to be glorifed,” we might think. But this should be the reason for why we do all things. Yet, is it? Is that truly the reason that we are doing what we are doing? Because Jesus would be glorified? Our desire, truly, is that he would be lifted up? Or is it so that we can gain? Or is it so that we can acquire? Or is it so that we can have a greater position or status in society?

Are we making the decisions that we are making because we want Jesus to be glorified? That we want him to be lifted up? That is the bottom line reason that Paul was praying for the growth of the Thessalonians. That is the bottom line reason that God will bring justice upon those who persecute the believers. It is all so that Jesus will be lifted up, that he will be magnified, that he will be glorified.

What decisions would we make differently if that was our true end game? How differently would we live our lives if glorifying Christ was the goal of our lives? What would we risk? What would we change?

May Christ be lifted up in our lives. May Jesus be glorified.

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