SUFFERING FOR CHRIST’S SAKE

Scripture Reading: II Thessalonians 1:5-10

“This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering.” (II Thessalonians 1:5)

We must remember that many in the early church faced times of severe persecution and affliction. The same is true today for some of our brothers and sisters throughout the world. Some are experiencing opposition, persecution, and affliction at the hands of ruthless and violent people. Paul wrote this epistle to encourage those who are going through such times of adversity.

We are reminded that through the merits of Jesus Christ we are considered worthy of the kingdom of God. Our worthiness is based on His worthiness that has been imputed to us through faith. Many have and will face suffering because of their faith. But God has the last word.

God repays with affliction those who afflict His people — “since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you” (v. 6). God is just and He will exercise a just judgment upon those who afflict His people. For this reason, we are to leave vengeance in God’s hands — “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord” (Romans 12:19).

God promises to grant relief for those who are suffering for the sake of Christ — “and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of the Lord Jesus” (vs. 7,8). God rewards those who remain faithful. He will give rest and relief to them.

Most of us cannot relate to the severe persecution that some of our fellow believers are facing today. However, these words must be comforting and assuring to those who are being afflicted because of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s remember to pray for the persecuted people of the world.

Lord Jesus Christ, I pray for my brothers and sisters who are facing persecution, affliction, and suffering today. I pray for those who are being mistreated, rejected, and isolated because of their faith in You. I know that everyday some are being put to death because of their Christian beliefs. Thank You that You will afflict those who afflict Your people. One day You will come with Your mighty angels to execute judgment upon those who are Your enemies. Thank You for Your grace that has made me a friend of Yours and not an enemy.

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