Sunday, February 06, 2011

Paul, Judgment Day, & Eternal Consequences

Sioux Falls
Next Sunday morning at Redeemer I'll preach out of 2 Thessalonians 1:3-10. Which reads:
 6God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7and 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.
3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. 4 Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.

5All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.

8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you."

One of the texts I'll use to unravel and explain this verses in Ben Witherington's 1 and 2 Thessalonians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. Witherington's scholarly output rivals that of Craig Keener and N.T. Wright. When I read them I feel I am getting the best possible understanding of the biblical texts.
Re. this passage Witherington says, “This is as stark a depiction of what happens on judgment day as any found in the Pauline corpus. Ch. 2 will build on it. Paul really does believe there are eternal consequences to having and persevering in faith in Christ or refusing to do so.”
Next Sunday morning I will especially address the concern that vv. 8-9 seem incompatible with a loving God.