Paul takes a moment to emphasize that God will square all the accounts when Jesus comes back. Those who reject Him will reap their “reward” as well as those who serve Him.
God is the one who will make the ultimate judgement, not man. We never really know what is in the heart of others but we can get a fair read by watching their behavior. Also, if ANY of us were to be judged on our own merits we would wind up on the losing end of the equation. We are only righteous because Jesus made us so through His sacrifice.
Paul was focusing more on the suffering the body in Thessalonica was enduring. He wanted them to know for certain that God was not blind to their suffering. Jesus said that those who follow Him will endure suffering. The world hated Him and therefore hates His followers.
“God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you and to grant relief to you who are afflicted” (verses 6-7). God demonstrated this same principle when disciplining Israel in the Old Testament. God used other nations to discipline Israel but those that got great joy from doing so were in turn the object of God’s just punishment.
The greatest punishment available is eternal separation from God. The rest of Hell’s “offerings” are a drop in the bucket compared to that. So many people don’t even recognize how significant that is while here on earth. Satan can fill their lives with counterfeits at every turn. But once this world and these bodies are stripped away the hole in the spirit without Him will be unfathomably obvious and painful.
To those who believe good things await. A lot of them won’t be realized this side of Heaven. The best being spending eternity with God.
Thank You Father for Your grace. Without it I would be destined for destruction. But because of Your love I have hope. I have a future with YOU! That makes anything on earth bearable. I’m glad I live in a country that doesn’t persecute Christians, yet. Who knows what the future holds for us. Whatever it is, You will walk with me through it too.
I pray for those who don’t realize what they are really missing. When that day comes and their eyes are opened, they will regret their choices. But by then it will be too late. PLEASE have my children and grandchildren recognize the truth before then.