Monday, February 2, 2009

2 Thessalonians 1:1-12 (An Inadequate Exegisis)

OK. This passage is a tough one to swallow. Maybe it is incorrect presuppositions. Maybe it is the postmodern sensibilities creeping in. Who knows?

What is the big deal? It is difficult to think about God, in the current evangelical climate with all emphasis on His attribute of love, as a God who acts out of His attribute of justice. Or maybe it would be better to say that we find it hard to see people being punished. No… the real hang-up I have here is thinking that sinners who treat me badly should be treated badly by God. They are sinners after all. They don’t know any better. The easier thing would be to imagine God repaying other “Christians” for the way they treat the brethren. That is all too common and seems just.

The fact is, though, that the Bible does teach that God is a just God, and that all of us (save by God’s grace) deserve punishment. Our sin is evil and God’s punishment is not revenge but rather justice. Just because we focus so much on His love; and we have a hard time recognizing right and wrong and seeing a need for guilt and consequences in this postmodern culture, does not make it any less true.

(Another problem for this passage today is the way it (and its teaching) has been distorted by Liberation Theology.)

So read 2 Thessalonians chapter 1 and see what you think. Maybe the problem is just mine.

(By the way, this is another faith, love, and hope passage.)

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