Assurance of Heaven
(2 Thessalonians Chapter 1)
2 Thessalonians 1:1 "Paul, and Silvanus, and Timothy, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:"
This is the second letter from Paul, and Silvanus, and Timothy to the
Thessalonian church and Paul immediately states the fact that he recognises that these Thessalonians are in Christ. (True believers).
Nothing has happened since the first letter to indicate that these believers were not truly converted to Christ and that what was evident in this church was that these Christians were rooted and grounded in the truth of the Gospel.
However there is evidence that the false teachers had persuaded some that their loved ones may not go to Heaven. That they had missed the Second Coming. So it was nessecary for this second letter.
2 Thessalonians 1:2 "Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."
Paul continues with his normal greeting that we see throughout his letters. Grace and Peace. This is a proof that this letter is penned by the Apostle.
2 Thessalonians 1:3 "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;"
We are bound.
Bound (Greek—Opheilo) (We owe it to you, we are obligated).
It is our responsibility, towards you.
Paul recognised, he was like a father to these Christians and was obligated to support them in prayer and thanksgiving.
The lesson for us is when we share the Gospel with others and they receive the Gospel, we cannot just abandon them. It is essential that we follow up with support in prayer and teaching. This is part of discipleship.
Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
It is recognising that new converts need teaching and support.
Paul repeats himself in v1 to 3 by re iterating what he said in his first letter.
1Th 1:2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;
1Th 1:3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love,
and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our
1Th 1:4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.
Paul is never swayed from repeating himself time and time again. What Paul is saying here is that “I have said it before and I’ll say it again”
Phil 3:1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.
2 Peter 1:12 Therefore, I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are established in the truth you now have.
Your faith and love groweth exceedingly, v3
This was not just new birth exuberance but a growth in faith and love towards each other.
Sometimes when people get converted they are full of it, as it were. However in many cases, that keenness wears off after a while, when the strains of life, or the trials that almost always follow, begin to take their toll and we often see a falling away or a dampening of the spirit.
This was not the case with these Thessalonian believers.
Paul says, “We are bound to thank God”: when we see what God has accomplished in your lives because of prayer and obedience.
Paul had feared for them because of the persecutions they were suffering, along with the threat of false teachers, this he expressed in his first letter.
1Th 3:5 For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.
Paul is commending them on the fact that they were standing firm in the faith and their testimony suggests that his earlier fears have been dispelled. He could see that this is a church that is growing in the knowledge of God.
2 Thessalonians 1:4 "So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye
They were abounding in patience and faith, this was evident in the way they patiently and faithfully endured hostilities and suffering from the enemies of Christ.
This was certainly encouraging to Paul and his team and they would be happy to have these letters read in the other churches as a witness to how a church should act.
Paul is using this church at Thessalonica as an example to the other churches of how they should conduct their affairs.
As was said in the leaflet on the first letter to the Thessalonians.
This was a church to emulate. (an example to us today)
See Blog 63 “Thessalonians, A Church worth Imitating”
Amidst tribulation, they were standing firm in the Gospel and this was an
indication, the evidence that they would be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God. Jesus had pointed this out in the sermon on the mount.
Matt 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
2 Thessalonians 1:5 "[Which is] a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:"
“Token” (Greek – endeigma) means literally “indication” or “evidence.”
1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
1Pe 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
It may appear that the good suffer and the wicked prosper but God is a
righteous judge and He will repay evil for evil.
Whether He does it in this life or in the future, no one escapes the judgement of God.
Ecclesiastes 3:17 I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.
Psalm 1:5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
The righteous and the wicked.
Two types of judgement. 1. A judgement of performance and 2. A judgement of right or wrong.
What this means is that God will righteously repay trouble to the wicked (verses 6-8).
2Th 1:6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
2Th 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
2Th 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
2Th 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
V5 “Counted worthy”: Their suffering does not qualify them for the
kingdom. Instead it is a privilege extended to those who are genuinely
members of the kingdom.
Phillipians 1:29 For it has been granted to you on Christ's behalf not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him,
1Peter 3:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
V5 “Suffer”: Having a right attitude towards suffering is essential and that required attitude is concern for the kingdom of God. They were not self-centered, but concentrated on God’s kingdom. Their focus was not on personal comfort, fulfillment and happiness, but on the glory of God and the fulfillment of His purposes
They were not moaning about the injustice of their persecutions. Rather, they were patiently enduring the sufferings they did not deserve (verse 4).
Verse 4: your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:"
This very attitude was positive proof that God’s wise process of purging, purifying, and perfecting through suffering was working to make His beloved people worthy of the kingdom by being perfected,
Jas 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
Jas 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
Jas 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
1Pe 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
There is a twofold aspect to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
The Lord Jesus promised two things at His coming, rest and retribution.
2 Thessalonians 1:7 "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,"
Hebrews 4:9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
As we saw in our study of 1 Thess 4, there is going to be a Rapture of the dead in Christ (Anastasia) and those who are alive at His coming (Harpazo).
The great gathering of the saints. (The Episunagarge) ( The Great Gathering in the air) Those who have heard and responded to the Gospel call throughout the ages.
1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
There will be a Judgement of believers but there will be no condemnation linked to this judgement. This will be The Judgement seat of Christ, when all our works as Christians will be tried and rewards given.
2 Cor 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
Our sins have been forgiven because of what Christ did on the cross.
Christians will not be judged for sin or unbelief. The price was paid by Jesus.
The second aspect of His second coming is the Wrath of God.
When the feet of Christ will stand on the Mount of Olives.
Zechariah 14:4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
This is when God’s Wrath will be poured out on the earth.
2 Thessalonians 1:8 "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:"
Fire is a symbol of judgment. God is a consuming fire.
Hebrews 12:29 "For our God [is] a consuming fire."
The believer will not experience God’s Wrath.
1 Thess 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by
our Lord Jesus Christ,
Rev 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
Keep from—(keep from, Greek “Terheo Ek” meaning out of).
There are only two choices a person can make. Following Jesus brings life eternal, but to reject Jesus brings eternal damnation.
“Taking vengeance”: (Greek – Ekdikaysis) Literally these words mean (Vindication – Retribution) “to give full punishment”
“Them that Know not God” (1 Thess. 4:5). This speaks to the lack of a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Retribution is not dealt out because they have persecuted Christians, but rather because they did not obey God’s command to believe and call upon the name of the Lord to be saved from their sin.
Act 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
Act 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
Salvation is never obtained by works but always by placing one’s faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
We see that the ones to be punished are all who do not accept Jesus as their Saviour. The really sad thing is that even some who proclaim Christianity will not be acceptable as we read in the following verse. They are professors but not possessors.
Matthew 7:22-23 "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
Our Assurance in His Coming.
2Th 1:10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
2Th 1:11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:
2Th 1:12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
“When he shall come”: When Jesus comes, bringing retribution and ruin for unbelievers. As Christ’s great glory is displayed, the result will be rest and relief for believers and the privilege of sharing His glory.
Php 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
This is the glorious manifestation of believers of which Paul spoke,
Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Rom 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
We Christians in the day of the Lord, will be clothed in white linen, washed in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have taken on His righteousness.
Rev 7:14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Notice: “Out of great tribulation” (Greek—mega thilipsis) NOT “wrath” (Greek—Orge).
We have been made acceptable to the Father through the Son. By His death on the cross.
If we have believed in our heart and confessed with our mouth, we will be saved.
That our God would count you worthy of [this] calling.
2 Thessalonians 1:11 "Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of [this] calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of [his] goodness, and the work of faith with power:"
For Christ to be glorified in us, we must grow in him. Paul prays that they will
live the salvation they have received, to walk uprightly before the Lord. The very life we live is a sermon to the world around us. We either draw people closer to God with our walk, or we drive them further away.
2 Thessalonians 1:12 "That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be
glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."
If we walk worthily, God will be glorified in us.
Can we have assurance of Heaven? Absolutely.
We have no reason to doubt our salvation, if we have trusted Jesus Christ and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, we are saved, we are being saved and we shall be saved. When we believe, our eternal life begins.
We have eternal life now.
The recognition of Jesus as Lord, by the thief on the cross, was his assurance of eternal life.
“I tell you today you will be in Paradise with Me”
1 John 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things:
nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
Romans 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
A finished work.
Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Our hope is in Christ and this is a sure and certain hope.