July 11, 2022
“God is just. He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to those who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord is revealed...”
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“God is just. He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to those who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord is revealed from Heaven in blazing fire with His powerful angels.” 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7
My wife and I have four children. At times, it is challenging to keep a secret in our house. There are just too many people and too little space for privacy. At times, we have developed an elaborate holiday shopping process. Everyone shops on the same day, yet nobody knows what they’re getting until they open their presents.
When it comes to gift-giving, my kids demand FAIRNESS. Everyone must get the same amount. If it were discovered that we spent more on one sibling, there would be a huge whine-fest until next year.
Adults have similar expectations about God. “God must be fair!”
You’ll be disappointed if your hope of God’s goodness is weighed on your scale for His fairness. God is not fair. (See also: Ecclesiastes) Fairness assumes that we should all get the same thing. Our American understanding of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” has led us to think that everyone deserves equal portions.
Each of us has different “callings” (or “missions” to accomplish) within God’s Kingdom. In the Army, soldiers are rationed supplies and armaments according to their distinct missions. Some need overwhelming supplies, and others would be hindered by excess gear to schlep. It’s not a question of fairness or equity. Supplies are rationed based on what is suitable for the mission.
If God is not fair, then what makes Him good? He is good because He is JUST. Justice does not assume all men get equal shares in life. It simply represents that God can always be trusted to judge fairly and display His righteousness with ultimate authority.
The Thessalonian congregation endured severe persecution. Notice Paul didn’t promise equality with other congregations. Instead, He encouraged them to persevere as a testimony to others. He focused their hope on God’s JUSTICE instead of a false hope of equal treatment with other believers.
Some acts of Justice may not occur in our lifetime. Our oppressors may die, believing they got away without punishment. We hope that God will judge, eventually. Nobody escapes God’s Justice. Paul indicated that aspects of the fullness of God’s Justice would not be fully weighed on the Thessalonian oppressors until the Lord is revealed.
Enter Grace. Messiah took God’s judgment (of the World’s sin) upon Himself. Through a saving relationship with Jesus, we can boldly stand before the Lord, “justified.” Furthermore, the Grace of Messiah Jesus is offered freely to ALL who would receive it by faith. That’s fair enough!