Recompense

II Thess. 1:6.  “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;”

It would be a good idea to go back and read this entire passage so far, in order to keep things in perspective. Paul often writes in very long sentences with lots of clauses; at least, that’s the way the King James translators gave it to us.  I’m not familiar enough with Greek to know how these passages were punctuated originally.  If there are any Greek scholars out there, please feel free to jump in and enlighten us.

This is a most interesting verse,  a continuation of verse 5, which spoke of God’s righteous judgment to come.  Verses 6-8 begin to describe that judgment, and verse 6 specifically  states that there will be a just recompense of tribulation to those who have persecuted the Thessalonian believers. There is no “maybe” about Paul’s statement. It is simply a fact, from which there is no escape. It was an encouraging reminder to them that “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19). It is not stated in a spirit of payback, but in the knowledge that justice is a part of God’s character and that He cannot act in a way that is contrary to His character.

I could spend a lot of time on this idea.  We are often overwhelmed today with reminders of God’s love, grace and mercy. And so we should be. He is indeed a God of great and abiding love, grace, and mercy. I am so very thankful for His patience, His grace,  His lovingkindness.  Without all that, we would be lost indeed.  Unfortunately, there are those who want to pull love, grace, and mercy into their politically correct definition of tolerance, which by that definition would mean we–and God–are to be tolerant of injustice and all other sin.

Nowhere in God’s Word are we ever told that God is tolerant of sin.  He hates sin; it is an offense to His holiness.  He hates anything that separates us from His Presence. Indeed, He could not even look upon His own Son as Jesus bore the load of all the sin of all mankind at Calvary, causing Jesus’ forsaken cry from the cross  (Matt. 27:45-47). I believe we have lost sight of the evil of our own sin, failing to understand that if there had never been a murderer, an adulterer or a thief, Jesus would still have had to die. Why? For me, for my sin that I want to trivialize in comparison to “worse sin” which I use to conveniently make my own seem less important. But in Proverbs 6:16-19 God clearly says that lying is an abomination to Him.  The word abomination is used to describe the stench of a decaying body. That’s pretty bad. My sin stinks like a rotting corpse.  And Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that the human heart is deceitful above all things, incorrigibly wicked, and that we don’t even know the depths of our own ability to sin. We are all liars at heart, which is abominable to God; and yet we presume to think, “Well, I’m not as bad as some people.”  We need to always see the suffering Jesus as He bore our own personal sin in His own body. No one is exempt.

Well, that was a bit of a rabbit trail, wasn’t it?  Maybe a rant?

The point of this verse is that those who troubled the Thessalonian believers will be recompensed–repaid in kind–by a just and righteous God Who cannot act in any way that is contrary to His holiness and justice.

Scary.

One thought on “Recompense

  1. Not a rant. Truth. I need to be reminded that introspection is necessary and that I have no right to sail on through life as if I am so good and righteous in comparrison to others. No, I am not. Sensitivity to sin is absolutely necessary lest we wear self-righteousness. Frankly, it seems as if preachers are scared to preach sin just like it is. Sin creeps in and shockingly, I even accept it with some thin lined excuse. Shame on me. Shame on us. I gain victory in one area and Satan is already busy in another area. But, “thanks be unto God who gives the victory.” And, this is the first time I think I have ever really looked at this verse apart from the passage. Thank you.

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