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Echo Evangelique

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7:30pm Bible Study
8:30am Bible Study
Sunday School
9:45am  10:30am

The Return of Christ: Judgment Against sinners

Text: 2 Thess. 1:6-9


Key Concepts:

  • God’s Justice demands a just punishment for wickedness
  • GOD’s righteousness is revealed in His punishment of the wicked
  • God’s judgment is based on His nature

There is an argument predominant since the time of the Old Testament. It is called the Deuteronomic Theory. It claims that good people prosper, and evil people suffer. This theology is known today under the banner of the prosperity gospel and that of the new age movement. The conventional idea concerns the theology of theodicy which entails God’s justice in response to evil. The question is then raised: if God is powerful and good, how can there be evil in His Creation? The prophet Habakkuk and many of the psalmists pose this question in the form of lamentations and complaints. They struggle with what they perceived as God’s indifference concerning sin and the basic violation of human rights.  Knowing that violations of God’s laws demand judgment, Habakkuk then questioned the wisdom of God and expressed his disappointment about the alleged inactivity of God in the face of blatant violation of His rules. He observed that the righteous suffers injustice and violence at the hand of wicked men without any concern. The psalmist then cries out, “How long, O Lord?” (Ps. 13:1). We can sympathize with this outcry today. They lament because they know that God has established a moral government in the world. God has indeed imposed just laws for His creatures along with penalties for the violators as well as rewards for those who adhere to said laws.

God’s Justice demands a just punishment for wickedness

Considering the doctrine of divine retribution, whereas God administers both rewards- remunerative justice (which is based on divine love not merits) and punishments – punitive justice (which is the expression of divine wrath.) Since the beginning of creation, we all knew that God is the law-giver and that there are consequences for breaking His laws, which means there is a price to pay for disobedience. We often hear about social justice; however, justice cannot be social, it has to be divine. But under the disguise of social justice, anarchists rule our streets causing chaos and inflicting violence. Their social justice is about seizing power and advantages. They seek opportunity under the guise of justice to cause others pain and suffering. Paul faced the same reality with the Roman Christians. He warned them about taking their own vengeance; he advised them to leave it to God (Rom. 12:19). The book of Revelation also echoes this doctrine of retribution. God promised to avenge His martyrs (Rev. 6:9-11). Faith means that trust we God. It enables us to submit ourselves to the sovereign will of God.   

GOD’s righteousness is revealed in is punishment of the wicked

Are you among those who will be rewarded, or will you be punished? The Lord forgives penitent sinners. He keeps His promises to His children and rewards their faithfulness. God is preparing us for His kingdom. The suffering we experience is not because He is indifferent. According to the doctrine of retribution, those who afflict the children of God will suffer the same afflictions. Paul addressed the inquiry of the Church of Thessalonica about the fate of their oppressors. He offered a dramatic depiction of God’s judgment at the second coming of Christ. He described the fate of those who do not know God: they will face the penalty by suffering punishment. They will be separated from the presence of God forever. The wicked will be removed from the glory of His might  (2 Thess. 1:6-9). Paul wanted to remind mourners that the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ has advantages for those who are in Christ. This is in fact good news for all believers. This good news included both the return of the Lord as well as the eschatological judgment of the wicked. Paul’s lesson points to the truth of “Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him” (Prov. 14:31).  This denotes a difference between those who obey God’s edicts – the generous, and those who don’t - the oppressors. Job, for example, reflecting on the fate of the oppressors, realized that they are unproductive and cursed. Paul wrote to the Christians to encourage them with the promise that those who are persecuted, afflicted, and oppressed will be delivered and avenged but oppressors will be afflicted in the end. Certainly, our justice rests in God’s hand alone.

God’s judgment is based on His nature

God, being a just God, cannot leave the world without judgment. If God is just, there must be a hell for those who choose to live in rebellion against Him. Likewise, if God is just, there must righteous deliverance for those who are afflicted. Remunerative and punitive justice is good news from God to His people. This should encourage the believer to live righteously. Paul teaches us God is just in His treatment of the righteous and that of the unrighteous (2 Thess. 1:6). The persecuted will inherit the kingdom of God, but that is not so for the oppressors. Indeed, the child of God must await God’s justice which will only come when Christ returns. Paul is certain that God is just and that nothing can be hidden from Him. His heart is sensitive to the suffering of His people. God’s judgment doesn’t keep Him from being merciful, gracious, and loving. If God is a God of love, He must be just. The children of God will not regret believing and trusting God, nor will they be disappointed. God will deliver His children in His own time and for His glory.  Those who have yet to receive the Lord Jesus as their personal savior, risk the all-consuming fiery wrath of God.  

In conclusion…

There is a hell and there is paradise. There is eternal life as well as eternal death. There is eternal felicity known as the bosom of Abraham, where the child of God will rejoice in His presence eternally. We will have eternal fellowship with one another in the presence of our God. Is heaven a place? Yes, it is. It is the place where the child of God is destined to spend eternity. For, where He is, is where we belong (Jn. 14:3). There is also a place of torment. The only way to escape it is by believing in the gospel. No one will enter heaven by their own merit or by good deeds. For, “… there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). As a sinner, no matter how great or insignificant you think your sins are, you stand condemned before God, the righteous judge of all. What you make of Christ, is the thing that will make a difference. As“… God is not willing that any should perish” (2 Pet. 3:9). No matter how great a sinner or oppressor you are, when you accept Christ, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has He [God] removed [your] transgressions from [you]” (Ps. 103:12). The former things will come to pass, everything will be new (Is. 42:9, 2 Cor. 5:17, Rev. 21:5). You will be saved once and for all and remain secure in the Lord Jesus Christ. There will be peace in the valley. However, if you continue to resist God, His retribution shall fall upon you. As a child of God, when the oppressor seems to be prospering, don’t be depressed, rather, trust God. He will lift you up. There is nothing you will experience that God has not made provision for already. Trust God. Trust His Word. Pray to God for a heart that desires Jesus. He alone can put an end to our suffering, to grant us justice, for His glory.

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Roslindale, MA 02131
Phone: 617-323-3107
Fax: 617-323-3165
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