The Just Payback
Jesus provides forgiveness for all, but not all are forgiven. We all have vivid memories of the beheading of 20 Coptic Christians and one Ghanaian on a beach in Libya in February of 2015. They were praying to Jesus as ISIS terrorists murdered them.
Remember the cross where Jesus died for sinners. He did pray, “Forgive them for they know not what they do,” but the thief on the cross next to Jesus that kept on cursing him didn’t have Jesus say to him, “Today, you’ll be with me in heaven.” It was the other thief who turned away from cursing Jesus to believing him who received the invitation to join Jesus in His home.
When individuals refuse to enter into a relationship with God and even oppose the proclamation of the Gospel, making it tough for others to hear the Gospel so that they could receive God’s forgiveness, they should not expect God to give them a free pass.
When Paul brought the Gospel for the first time to Thessalonica, he had to flee the city because of those who violently opposed him. This persecution against the baby church in the city continued after he left. Here’s what Paul had to say to the Thessalonian believers about those who were oppressing them.
“Since it is just in the sight of God to pay back punishment to those oppressing you, he will also give you rest and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty powerful angels in blazing fire. He will be executing justice against those not having a relationship with God, even those who do not obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with eternal destruction, excluded from the face of God and from the glory of his strength. Whenever Jesus comes, it will be for the purpose not only of justly judging those who oppose him, but to be glorified by his set apart ones and to be admired by all those who believe. And this includes you because you believed our testimony.” 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10
With Jesus, we need to pray that those who oppose us will turn so that they can receive forgiveness, but Paul also makes it clear that those who want to live their lives for themselves without God, who use Jesus’ name as a curse word, and who refuse to accept the Gospel, God will give them what they want—total separation from His presence. Because he is the source of all good, love, truth, justice, and beauty, those who oppose Jesus need to think hard about what it will be like to get what they want.
LORD, powerfully work in the hearts of those oppressing believers either through actual physical assaults or political and social forces. Move them, like the thief on the cross, to change from cursing Jesus to trusting him before it’s too late.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!