2 Thessalonians 1:6
After all, it is only right for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you,
Sermons
Manifestation of Solemn InterestR. Finlayson 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12
The Persecutions of the ThessaloniansB.C. Caffin 2 Thessalonians 1:5-7
Rest After SufferingH. W. Beecher.2 Thessalonians 1:6-7
Rest At LastT. Guthrie, D. D.2 Thessalonians 1:6-7
Rest for the TroubledT. Manton, D. D.2 Thessalonians 1:6-7
Rest not for the PresentPercy Anecdotes2 Thessalonians 1:6-7
Rest not on EarthE. Foster.2 Thessalonians 1:6-7
The Craving for RestErasmus.2 Thessalonians 1:6-7
The Thought of Rest2 Thessalonians 1:6-7
The Two Troubles and the TroublersC. Bradley, M. A.2 Thessalonians 1:6-7
The Future Judgment as to its RighteousnessT. Croskery 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10
The Judgment DayW.F. Adeney 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10


The apostle proceeds to set forth the certainty of the Divine judgment as affecting the saints and their persecutors.

I. THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THIS JUDGMENT. "Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense affliction to them that afflict you; and to you who are afflicted rest with us."

1. An appeal is made to man's innate sense of justice. A want of this element of justice in human character is regarded as a defect. A right-minded man is indignant at wrong, and delights in the retribution that fails upon wrong doers. This sentiment of justice is but a reflection of Divine character, for we are made in the image of that God who hates sin with "a perfect hatred' (Psalm 139:22).

2. God is "not unrighteous who taketh vengeance" (Romans 3:5), for he has established in his government of the world an inseparable connection between sin and misery. Therefore we may expect to see a Divine retaliation upon transgressors - "affliction to them that afflict you" - the penalty partaking of the very character of the sin. On the other hand, God is not "unrighteous to forget your work of faith and labour of love." The afflicted shall be recompensed with "rest," as well as reward for all their patience.

II. THE TIME OF THE JUDGMENT. "When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven."

1. There is a day appointed for the judgment of the world; for God "hath appointed a day in which he wilt judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom he hath ordained" (Acts 17:30, 31).

2. The day is that which is to be the manifestation of the Lord from heaven. He is now in heaven, "sitting at the right hand of God" (Acts 7:56); but he shall then come forth in glory to those who "wait for him," to the judgment of the world.

3. The time of the judgment is unknown to man. The day of the Lord "shall come as a thief in the night."

III. THE SUBORDINATE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE JUDGMENT.

1. The angelic retinue. "The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with the angels of his power."

(1) They manifest his power and enhance his glory. They will be with him when he "shall come in glory, and shall sit on the throne of his glory" (Matthew 25:31).

(2) They execute his purposes, whether of wrath or mercy.

(a) They "gather together his elect from the four winds" (Mark 13:27).

(b) They "shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them that do iniquity, and shall east them into a furnace of fire" (Matthew 13:41, 42).

2. The flaming glory of his manifestation. It shall be "in flaming fire;" not as the instrument of vengeance, but as enhancing the glory of the Divine presence. "Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens flora above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people" (Psalm 50:3, 4).

IV. THE RESULTS OF THE JUDGMENT TO THE TWO CLASSES.

1. The class of persecutors. "Those which afflict you."

(1) Wicked men cannot endure the saints. It is with them as with Cain, who slew his brother. Wherefore? "Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous" (1 John 3:12).

(2) The cry of the saints rises to heaven against them. "How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" (Revelation 6:10).

(3) The persecutors are of two classes. "Them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."

(a) The first class refers to Gentile persecutors. "They know not God." Ignorance is their great sin. They had resisted the light of nature.

(α) It was wilful ignorance, for they had the truth brought to their doors in Thessalonica;

(β) their ignorance made confidence in God impossible,

(γ) as well as an intelligent worship of God.

(b) The second class refers to Jewish persecutors - "that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." As ignorance was the sin of the Gentiles, disobedience was the sin of the Jews. They knew God, but rejected the gospel of Christ. They were fiercer persecutors of the saints even than the Gentiles.

(α) Christ is the Author of the gospel as well as its theme.

(β) The gospel is to be obeyed as well as received, and is therefore called "the obedience of faith;" for faith without obedience is dead, as obedience without faith has no value.

(4) The judgment upon the persecutors. It is described first generally and then more definitely. The Lord Jesus shall take vengeance upon them. They "shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." This represents "the wrath of the Lamb" (Revelation 6:16, 17).

(a) The judgment is everlasting destruction. This does not imply annihilation - an idea equally opposed to Scripture and to the facts of natural science. The term "everlasting" associated with it neutralizes the idea of annihilation, which implies a point of time in which the wicked cease to exist. The duration of the punishment will be as the duration of the blessedness (Revelation 16:26; Hebrews 9:14; Matthew 25:46).

(b) It involves separation from "the face of the Lord, and the glory of his strength." It is heaven to "see Christ as he is," to be "with him where he is, that they may behold his glory." The sum of all woe is, "Depart from me." A great gulf is fixed between the saved and the lost (Luke 16:26). The wicked are to be outside the apocalyptic city of God. "Outside are dogs" (Revelation 16:14, 15).

2. The class of saints. The results of the judgment as affecting them are thus described.

(1) They are to be accounted "worthy of the kingdom of God."

(a) They are heirs of it, as children of God.

(b) They are called into it.

(c) The kingdom "shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High" (Daniel 7:27). "The saints shall judge the world" (1 Corinthians 6:2, 3). They shall "inherit the kingdom" (Matthew 25:34). This is "the grace that is to he brought to them at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:13).

(2) They shall receive rest - "rest with us," as the Lord's recompense for all their sufferings. It points to their release from persecutions.

(a) There is a rest - a sabbatism - "for the people of God" (Hebrews 4:9). They "shall rest from their labours, and their works do follow them" (Revelation 14:13).

(b) It is rest in the fellowship of all saints - "rest with us."

(3) The effect of the Lord's second advent - "that he may be glorified in his saints, and be admired in all them that believe."

(a) The Church is to be "the glory of Christ." Jesus said, "The glory which thou gavest me I have given them" (John 17:10, 22). "The beauty of the Lord God shall be upon her," and "his glory shall be seen upon her" (Psalm 90:17); Isaiah 60:2). The Church is addressed thus: "There shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God" (Isaiah 62:3).

(b) Christ shall be an Object of wonder to believers in that day. "To be admired in all them that believe." The wonder will spring out of the extraordinary manifestations of his glory and power. - T.C.









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
I. THE TERM APPLIED TO OUR LORD'S COMING "revealed." To reveal is to uncover what is hidden. This may be done in two ways —

1. Spiritually, as Jesus is now evidently set forth in His gospel.

2. Outwardly.(1) In this way Christ has been already revealed, but only partially. Few saw Him, and those few very little.(2) By and by He will come without disguise and "every eye shall see Him."

II. THE DIFFERENT PORTIONS WHICH WILL THEN BE GIVEN TO VARIOUS PERSONS.

1. The troublers and their portion.(1) Wherever God has a people there will sure to be troublers.(2) Sometimes God visits such with His displeasure here, just to show that He marks what they are doing, but generally He seems to let them alone.(3) Their position is —(a) Tribulation. Of this we all know something, but the deepest sorrow we have ever felt compared with this is as a summer cloud to winter midnight.(b) Recompense. It is to come upon them as a consequence of their unkindness to God's people. Wretched they would have been had they let these people alone, but because they would not they shall be still more wretched.(4) How seldom do some of us think of this. We regard "the hard speeches" of the ungodly as little more than the outbursts of prejudice, ill-humour, or harmless pleasantry; but God regards them differently.(5) How this truth magnifies the love Christ bears to us, grounding His judicial proceedings on the conduct of men towards us as well as toward Himself. "He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of My eye."

2. The portion of the troubled.(1) We must not think that we are in the number of these because the world ill-treats us. The world frequently torments its own followers.(2) The blessing pronounced is —(a) rest. The very thing for which most of us long. We are often grieved at this longing: but Christ in His compassion shows us that holy Paul had the same longings, and that they were lawful. This compassion is further shown in this revelation of heaven. Were we in that place where they" rest not day nor night" we should never call it by that name. That activity is quite in harmony with this rest; but Christ does not dwell upon it because He is addressing weary men.(b) "Rest with us." It will be a rest of the same kind as that enjoyed by the highest saints. It may be enough to be with Christ; but if we love Him we shall love His people, and to meet with the latter also will augment our joy. Paul could enter into this. It gave him as much joy as them.

III. THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THIS.

1. Christ came as a Saviour, and accordingly displayed love and mercy; He will come as a Judge, and what we look for in a judge is equity. God's justice now is very much a matter of faith, but then it will be made fully manifest.

2. To bring this about there must be evident justice in the portions assigned to different men. Their destinies must be suited to their character and conduct. See standing before the Judge two separate companies. Here are those who bore willingly hatred and reproach for His name's sake — there are those who reproached and hated them because they loved His name. Without looking any farther we see the force of these words.(1) These latter have troubled God's people, and it is but their desert that they should be troubled in their turn.(2) The harassed people find rest. True they merit it not, and remembering what they are we should have expected the apostle to say, "It is a merciful thing with God to give you rest." This he does say elsewhere, but here he enters into his Master's feelings who thinks only of His people's services and forgets their sins.

3. What the grace of God leads Him to promise His justice will lead Him to perform.

(C. Bradley, M. A.)Divine retribution a manifestation of Divine justice: —

I. THE JUSTICE OF GOD.

1. Justice is God's attribute as Governor. It is twofold.(1) General — the perfection of the Divine nature. This is the same with His holiness. God loves righteousness and hates iniquity necessarily (Psalm 5:4; Zechariah 3:5).(2) Particular which respects His office as Judge of the world (Deuteronomy 32:4).

2. Of His government there are two acts.(1) Legislative justice, which determines man's duty, binds him to the performance and defines the rewards and punishments which shall be due upon man's obedience and disobedience (Deuteronomy 30:15).(2) Judiciary or distributive justice, whereby He renders to all men according to their works (Romans 2:6; 1 Peter 1:17). This is twofold.

(a)Rewarding (Hebrews 6:10; 2 Timothy 4:8).

(b)Vindictive or punishing (Romans 2:7-9; John 3:19; Hebrews 10:29).

3. This distributive justice is exercised.(1) More darkly here: yet even here the wicked are punished and the righteous rewarded (Romans 1:18; Psalm 58:11).(2) More plainly hereafter (Romans 2:5). The difference between the last time and this is —(a) That the righteous and the wicked have but the beginnings of their reward and punishment: the wicked inwardly (Hebrews 2:15; Ephesians 4:19; Psalm 81:12) and even outwardly, as witness the fall of nations, and the sudden and otherwise unaccountable destruction of individuals; so the righteous have inwardly much of his love, peace, etc.; and outwardly the wicked have it not all their own way (Malachi 3:17, 18).(b) God's justice now appears more negatively than positively, i.e., God does nothing contrary to justice. As to His rewards His servants have deserved nothing which they enjoy; and as to His restraint of due punishment it is to bring the sinner to repentance.

II. THIS JUSTICE AS APPLIED TO THE DIFFERENT RECOMPENSES.

1. "Tribulation to them that trouble you" for a double reason.(1) Their own disobedience to God's laws (Romans 2:8).(2) Their opposition to those that would obey God, so consenting with the devil in his apostasy (Matthew 23:13; Matthew 24:49).

2. "To you who are troubled rest." How is this just? Things may be said to be righteous with God.(1) In respect of strict justice when what is done deserves reward by its intrinsic value. So no obedience of man or angel can bind God to reward it.(2) In respect of His bounty God is just. When He rewards man because he is in some way righteous. This capacity of reward respects either the righteousness of Christ (Romans 3:25, 26), or the difference between the person recompensed and others. General justice requires that He should put a difference between the godly and the wicked (Psalm 11:7).(3) In respect of His promise (1 John 1:9).

3. Particularly discuss these two effects.(1) The troublers are to be troubled (Romans 2:9). The law of retaliation operates often in the course of providence (Judges 1:7; Obadiah 1:5). Ahab's blood was lapped up by dogs where Naboth was murdered. Haman was executed on the gallows he had erected for Mordecai. Henry III of France was killed in the chamber where the massacre was contrived; and Charles IX died flowing in his blood in his bed. The rich glutton wanted a drop who gave not a crumb.(2) The troubled rest — and the rest in proportion to the trouble.

(T. Manton, D. D.)

While walking through the streets of the city we passed a man whose head was whitened and body bowed by the hardships of not less than sixty years. His limbs trembled under their heavy burden, and with much apparent effort he advanced but slowly. We overheard him talking in a low and subdued voice, evidently mourning over his weariness and poverty. Suddenly his tone changed and his step quickened, as he exclaimed, "I'll rest when I get home." Even the thought of rest filled him with new life, so that he pursued with energy his weary way. To us it was a lesson. If the thought of the refreshing rest of home encourages the careworn labourer so that, almost unmindful of fatigue and burdens, he quickens his step homeward, surely the Christian, journeying heaven ward, in view of such a rest, should press onward with renewed vigour. This little incident often comes to mind amid the perplexing labours of the day, and stimulates to more constant and earnest effort. Each labourer toiling in his Master's vine yard, bearing the heat and burden of the day, can say, "I'll rest when I get home."

None of us who have not read deeply into history can under stand how utterly the Russian and German peoples were threshed, as straw is threshed on the summer threshing floor, by the iron flail of Bonaparte. So extreme was the suffering that it broke the heart of that most beautiful and noble woman, the wife of King William, the father of the late Kaiser. She died, as it were, struggling with the sorrows of her people. For her her husband erected a tomb in the environs of Berlin. I can hardly mention it without tears. It is peculiarly built, standing alone in a forest, with glass that throws a sombre light upon all the hither part of it, while on the far part the golden and natural light of the sun shines — as if this side, where you enter, represented the gloom of this world, and the other side, where she lies, carved in marble over her dust, represented the light and the glory of the more blessed land. When I first was there I had read about, but never had fairly conceived of, that which met my eyes. The queen, sculptured at full length, lies as one upon a bed at rest. There is the most exquisite expression of having at last come to full, perfect, and joyful rest.

(H. W. Beecher.)

I. WHAT IS THIS REST? It is —

1. A felicitating rest. In it there is —(1) Freedom from all troublesome evils.(a) Sin (Romans 7:24) is the most grievous, but in heaven there is no sin (Ephesians 5:27). In paradise there was a tempter, but not in heaven.(b) Misery and affliction (Revelation 22:4).(2) An enjoyment of all good, even God. To our felicity three things are necessary.

(a)A prepared faculty;

(b)a suitable object;

(c)the conjunction of these.In a state of glory these things concur. The faculty is more prepared than here as we are purged from sin and fleshly delusions — the object is more manifested (1 Corinthians 13:12); the conjunction is more intimate; for here it is by faith, there by vision, here by an imperfect, there by a perfect love.

2. A holy rest, a perpetual sabbatizing (Hebrews 4:9). The Sabbath is not a time of idleness; on it the sacrifices were doubled (Numbers 28:1). So our service is not ended with our lives; holy work will be part of the blessedness of heaven (Revelation 7:14, 15).

3. A rest for the whole person — body and soul.

II. WHY OUR REWARD IS REPRESENTED AS REST. Because it suits —

1. The aim of the saints. It is the end of motion. None have it but those that seek after it. We are all travelling to the other world. Some are posting to eternal torment on the broad road, others to life and rest by the narrow way (Matthew 7:13, 14). Every day a Christian gets nearer the goal (Romans 13:11).

2. The goodness of God, who delights to recompense His people for their pain and weariness. He has a care for His weary servants here and gives them rest (Isaiah 50:4; Matthew 11:28).

III. "REST WITH US."

1. All Christians have the same felicity for substance though the degrees are different. Those who have been together in the labour, duty, and danger shall be together in the rest and recompense (Matthew 25:1). The grounds of essential happiness are the same to all.(1) The same Redeemer (Exodus 30:15; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Romans 3:22).(2) The same covenant which is the common charter of the saints (Acts 2:39). It is a covenant which —

(a)Offers the same benefits, pardon, life (Romans 4:23, 24; 2 Timothy 4:8).

(b)Requires the same duties (Galatians 6:16; Romans 1:16).

2. Though the essential happiness of the saints is the same, yet there are degrees in glory. What relation holiness has to heaven, so more holiness here means more happiness there.

3. It is a comfortable adjunct to our felicity that we shall have such company there (Matthew 8:11; Hebrews 12:22, 23; Ephesians 2:19; Ephesians 3:15). Let this promote church unity.

(T. Manton, D. D.)

No one will easily believe how anxiously, for a long time, I have wished to retire from these labours into a scene of tranquility, and, for the rest of my life (dwindled, it is true, to the shortest span) to converse only with Him who once cried, "Come unto Me all ye that labour," etc. In this turbulent and raging world, amid so many cares, which the state of the times heaps upon me in public, or which declining years and infirmity cause me in private, nothing do I find on which my mind can more comfortably repose than on secret communion with God.

(Erasmus.)

Percy Anecdotes.
Epaminondas, before going into battle with the Lacedaemonians, sat down to rest for a few moments, when his seat fell under him. "That," quoth the soldiers, "bodes no good." "Nay," said their leader, with happy pre sence of mind; "it is an intimation to me that I have no business to be sitting here when I should be leading you against the enemy."

(Percy Anecdotes.)

There is the tradition of an Indian chief who with his wife fled before the prairie fires till he had crossed a broad river; when he struck his tent pole into the ground and cried, "Alabama!" ("here we may rest"). He was no prophet. Hostile tribes overpowered them; and they found only their graves where they sought a home. This is, may be, a parable of the soul; for it earth has no Alabama.

(E. Foster.)

The pass of Glencoe in Scotland is reached by a long, steep, and winding path; but at its top is a stone with the inscription "Rest and be thankful." Such is the pilgrim's path; but at its end is heaven, on whose gates may be read a similar inscription.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

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