1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary Verses 13-16

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary 13-16
1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary 13-16
Explaining the Book
1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary Verses 13-16
/

Please join me in 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16.

In this passage the outline of the material is fairly simple. The main idea that we’re going to see is a contrast of 2 different responses to God’s truth. Verses 13 and 14 have the first response - which can be summarized in one word as faith. And then verses 15 and 16 will give us the second response - which is rejection.

So, in this passage, it’s belief versus rejection of God’s truth. And the illustration given involves the Thessalonian believers and the churches in Judea who had received God’s truth and their Messiah versus the unbelieving Jews who persisted and still persist in their rejection of God’s truth and their Messiah.

So, let’s read 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16 together and then explore this passage tonight.

1 Thessalonians 2:13–16 AV 1873

13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:

15 who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:

16 forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.

So, we begin in verse 13 where we see faith as a response to God’s truth.

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary Verse 13

1 Thessalonians 2:13 AV 1873

13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

First of all, we see Paul thanking God a second time for these believers in Thessalonica.

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary For this cause also thank we God ‍‍without ceasing


For this cause also thank we God ‍‍without ceasing

13 Καὶ διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἡμεῖς εὐχαριστοῦμεν τῷ θεῷ ἀδιαλείπτως,


And if you’ve been paying close attention, you know that Paul already gave thanks for these believers in this letter. He did that back in 1 Thessalonians 1:2.

This is actually the only letter of Paul’s where - in the introduction - he thanks God for the believers to whom he’s writing twice (Romans 1:8; 1 Corinthians 1:4; Philippians 1:3; Colossians 1:3; Philemon 1:4).

So, we can see how exceedingly pleased Paul and Silas and Timothy were with what God was doing in the lives of these Thessalonian believers.

And back in Paul’s first expression of thanksgiving in 1 Thessalonians 1:2 his reasons for giving thanks for them included what he and Silas could remember concerning genuine outward signs that these believers had been chosen by God.

And the nature of the thanksgiving here in chapter 2 is similar. Paul thanks God a second time for these believers …

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary because, when ye received the word of God ‍‍which ye heard of us...

because, when ye received the word of God ‍‍which ye heard of us

ὅτι παραλαβόντες λόγον ἀκοῆς παρʼ ἡμῶν τοῦ θεοῦ


And we’ll get to what the Thessalonians did when they received the word of God from Paul and Silas in just a little bit.

But we need to note the Thessalonians’ response to God’s truth.

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary …the word…which ye heard of us...

They heard the word of God from Paul and Silas.

And of course, you remember from Acts 17 that this word of God that Paul and Silas were preaching was focused on Jesus being the promised Messiah - the one whom the Old Testament foretold as needing to suffer and rise from the dead. There was surely a lot more that Paul and Silas said to them, but that was the central idea behind whatever else they communicated to those Thessalonians.

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary …when ye received...

And the Thessalonians’ response to that truth was to “receive” it.

•           This word describes what an engaged man does with his espoused wife on their wedding day (Matthew 1:24). He receives and joyfully welcomes her as his wife.

•           It’s how Jesus speaks of bringing us believers one day to himself where he is (John 14:3). He will receive us to himself.

•           This is also the word used when John the Evangelist says that Jesus came to his own things when he came in the flesh to this earth - and yet his own people - the Jews - did not receive him (John 1:11).

•           This word is also used of people accepting and welcoming the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1,3 and Galatians 1:9.

So, Paul and Silas came to Thessalonica bearing and proclaiming God’s message of salvation through Jesus Christ to these people. And when the message came, the Thessalonians - to whom Paul is now writing - gave it a patient hearing. They received it. They warmly welcomed it.

And when the Thessalonians did that, something else occurred…

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary ye received it ‍‍not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God

ye received it ‍‍not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God

ἐδέξασθε οὐ λόγον ἀνθρώπων ἀλλὰ καθὼς ἀληθῶς ἐστὶν λόγον θεοῦ,

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary ye received it...

And even though this word “received” in English is the same as we saw earlier in this verse, it’s actually a different Greek word. Though the meaning seems to be roughly equivalent. But there’s probably a progression in view. You welcomed it and then you believed it. You received it - and then you really received it!

The Thessalonians started off by receiving God’s truth in that they gave it a hearing. But then they really received that truth by believing and embracing it with their whole heart.

Now, Paul had already mentioned in the first chapter of this letter (in verse 5) how the Thessalonians became imitators of Paul and Silas in that they received the word. And they did it in the midst of a lot of opposition and affliction from their neighbors - but they did it with Holy-Spirit joy.

And the Thessalonians weren’t like the rocky soil in Jesus’s parable of the seeds and the soils. Remember that the rocky soil is represented as immediately taking in and receiving the “seed” of God’s word and it even does so with joy - as the Thessalonians did. But when that soil - that human heart - faces opposition and affliction and trials for Jesus’ sake, it falls away. It apostatizes.

But that’s not how the Thessalonians responded to God’s truth. They received it. They had great joy over it. They were even afflicted because of it. … And they stood fast.

Why?

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary ...not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God

Because, Paul says, they had a certain mindset about this word. They received this word in a certain manner.

The Thessalonians didn’t receive this word as if it were just a mere word from mortal men - like a self-help book. They received the word from Paul and Silas as if it were a message straight from God himself. Because that’s exactly what it was and still is.

And this word proves itself to be God’s word based - at least in part - on it’s impact on the lives of those who hear and receive it as such…

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary which effectually worketh also in you that believe

which effectually worketh also in you that believe

ὃς καὶ ἐνεργεῖται ἐν ὑμῖν τοῖς πιστεύουσιν

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary which…


Now, there’s a little ambiguity as to what exactly our word translated here as “which” is referring to. It could be referring to God’s word. Or it could be referring directly to God himself. Does God’s word do the work or does God himself do the work in believers?

Of course, in either case, ultimately it’s God who’s working - and he’s working in the lives of believers through his word to you.

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary …effectually worketh…

And what a blessing this reality is of God working in you through his word. Because it hasn’t always been that way for you.

There was a time in your life when you were what the Bible describes as being “in the flesh”. And when that was the case, God’s law aroused your sinful desires to bear fruit for death in your life (Romans 7:5). God’s word wasn’t working. Sin was!

There’s even now a spirit in this world that works in the children of disobedience - the ones that you were among at one point in your life. And for this reason you were a child of wrath - one who had wrath rightly coming to him for all the times that you were fulfilling the lusts of your flesh and mind. But we know how that story ends - “But God...”  He was rich in mercy toward you. He loved you. And he made you alive together with Christ and saved you (Ephesians 2:2-5).

And so now, God works in you the willingness and ability to do what pleases him (Philippians 2:13). There’s a power from God now in you that works in you (Ephesians 3:20). Any work that you do for the Lord, you can be certain it’s energized by him (Colossians 1:29). The Holy Spirit himself gives you gifts with which he works through you in order to serve your fellow-Christians (1 Corinthians 12:6,11).

And we see in this passage in 1 Thessalonians 2:13 that God uses his word to work in us. This is one way in which God proves to you that the Bible is truly his word.

What other book can you pick up, believe it, and have it change you so radically and in such holy and pure ways? There’s nothing like it. Because there’s no other book breathed-out by God that does spiritual work in those who believe it.

If I pick up a book on US History and I even believe what the author claims, I might be wiser for it. I might be better able to place our nation in the context of world history. Maybe I’ll have some added facts in my mind which will help me evaluate where our nation is in terms of where we’ve been in the past. But it’s not going to change my life. It’s not going to grow and develop me into a more mature believer.

Only God’s word - the Bible - does that.

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary … in you that believe

But you have to believe it in order for it to do work in your life. Paul says that this work occurs “in you that believe”. It’s crucial that you initially believe God’s word - and keep on believing it. And if you do, it will do a work in you - God will do a work in you.

[S] But the opposite is true and is stated in Hebrews 4:2…

Hebrews 4:2 AV 1873

2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

The disobedient ancient Israelites had good news proclaimed to them. So do we. But this church is filled with lives that have been impacted and changed and saved as a result of that word. While those ancient Israelites perished.

What makes the difference? You believe God’s word. They didn’t. They doubted and rebelled and refused God’s word to them.

Because of unbelief they were broken-off like dead branches. But you stand by faith (Romans 11:20).

So, we’ve seen in verse 13 a few positive responses to God’s truth modeled for us: receiving that truth and believing it.

And then in verse 14, we’re going to see more positive responses to God’s truth.

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary Verse 14

1 Thessalonians 2:14 AV 1873

14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:

And actually, Paul is now in verse 14 going to point to one tell-tale sign that the believers in Thessalonica - to whom he’s writing - are not like those disobedient ancient Israelites that we just considered in Hebrews 4:2. No, these Thessalonians were true believers in whose lives God’s word is truly working.

How could Paul tell that?

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary For ye, brethren, ‍‍became followers of ‍‍the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus

For ye, brethren, ‍‍became followers of ‍‍the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus

14 ὑμεῖς γὰρ μιμηταὶ ἐγενήθητε, ἀδελφοί, τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν τοῦ θεοῦ τῶν οὐσῶν ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ,

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary For ye, brethren, ‍‍became followers…


This matter of following or imitating other true believers is perhaps a little strange to our way of thinking as American Christians. It seems that in our current American culture, a great premium is placed on being “different” - which could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you define that.

And it’s not that Paul is calling for everyone to look and act identically. But there’s something special about being able to look at dynamics in your spiritual life and to compare them to what’s happening in the lives of other believers - and you see encouraging similarities.

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary … followers of ‍‍the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus

In the Thessalonians’ case, they shared similar spiritual dynamics with the churches in Judea - which at the time of this writing would have been composed mostly of believing Jews. So, a predominantly Gentile church in Greece/Macedonia was sharing in common deep spiritual experiences with churches that are predominantly Jewish. Jew and Gentile united. That’s amazing.

And this isn’t the main thrust of our passage, but I think it would be unhelpful to pass by this teaching in this passage here and not sort of apply it to our nation’s current racial tensions and the ideas being put out there in terms of what’s going to fix us.

Will reparations help heal racial tensions in our country? Paying people for the past mistreatment of their ancestors? Will other forms of government subsidies be genuinely helpful? What about punishing those who are viewed as being in the majority for their supposed implicit racism? Are these things going to help unite and heal a country which is struggling with racial tensions?

I’m doubtful - primarily due to the fact that the Scripture and God himself says nothing along these lines. What God holds out as the only hope of reconciling man to himself - and man to his fellow man - is a complete and life-transforming trust in the Savior of all men and women and races and cultures - Jesus Christ.

The believing Gentile Thessalonians found unity with the believing Jews and they were both fully trusting Christ alone to be sufficient to save them from their sins and give them new life. Only in Christ is there true reconciliation and harmony - with both God and man - even with those who are different than you in whatever ways.

So, the Thessalonians had come to imitate the believing Jews. And this proved that the Thessalonians were - of course - believing - like Paul said back at the very end of verse 13.

So, what does Paul say now in this passage that demonstrates that the Thessalonians were truly imitating genuine believers - in this case - in the churches of Judea?

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary for ‍‍ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, ‍‍even as they have of the Jews

for ‍‍ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, ‍‍even as they have of the Jews

ὅτι τὰ αὐτὰ ἐπάθετε καὶ ὑμεῖς ὑπὸ τῶν ἰδίων συμφυλετῶν καθὼς καὶ αὐτοὶ ὑπὸ τῶν Ἰουδαίων 


The suffering of these Thessalonian believers is hinted at in Acts 17:1-9 where we have the account of the founding of this church in Thessalonica

But their suffering is even more explicitly described in Paul’s second letter to this church in 2 Thessalonians 1:3-7. There, we’re told that these believers were enduring persecutions and tribulations. They were suffering for the kingdom of God. They were being troubled by their fellow-countrymen, as Paul says here.

And that’s just how the believing Jews in Judea were treated by the unbelieving Jews who rejected their Messiah.

And this similarity in how believers tend to be treated by their lost peers is a sign of genuine faith on the part of both the imitators and the ones being imitated.

For some of us, trusting Christ has caused divisions in your broader family and has led to some perhaps-lighter forms of persecution. Maybe old friends you once associated with now want nothing to do with you.

I think we all certainly feel like this society is really turning against those who trust Christ and unashamedly hold to the truth of Scripture. A recent study revealed that 44% of Americans feel that religious liberty threatens their own rights [https://www.deseret.com/indepth/2021/3/4/22308010/religious-freedom-public-relations-crisis-came-at-bad-moment-equality-act-lgbtq-rights-branding]. Take that in. Nearly half of this country - your neighbors and fellow-citizens - is thinking that constitutional protections put in place to prevent the persecution of Christians like you - and those of other religions - threaten their rights. It’s a very short walk from this point to full-blown outright persecution of Christians with this kind of attitude prevalent among the populace.

And you know what? We still ought to pray for our leaders. We still ought to vote. We still ought to be involved in the American system of government as much as you sense God wants you to be.

But ultimately, this is OK. To the extent that God would have you to suffer for Christ’s name, you are to count yourself blessed. Whatever suffering and persecution you face for Christ’s sake will only show that you are a genuine believer. And isn’t that what ultimately matters? Not comfort in the here and now - but assurance of eternal bliss hereafter.

As you suffer for Christ, you will join the ranks of those in the so-called “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11 - some of whom - as unbelievable as this sounds - they even rejected release from torture so “that they might obtain a better resurrection” (Hebrews 11:35).

You will join the ranks of the majority of your brothers and sisters in Christ who - all over the world right at this very moment - face persecution and violence for their allegiance to Christ.

We ought to keep praying that God would allow us to live peaceful and quiet lives as Paul urges us to do in his letter to Timothy. But at the same time, if and when persecution does come, don’t be shocked. And don’t fall away. This could be one way that God wants to prove to you and to your fellow-believers and to the world that you truly believe and belong to Jesus Christ - who himself suffered and was persecuted - for your sake.

So, verse 14 has revealed a few more positive responses to God’s truth in your life. You’ve received and believed God’s message such that you’re willing to suffer for it if need be - just like all your fellow believers.

So, with that, now we’re on to the negative responses to God’s truth in verses 15 and 16.

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary Verse 15

1 Thessalonians 2:15 AV 1873

15 who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:

It’s the matter of the unbelieving Jews killing those messengers whom God sent to them with his truth that Paul now turns his attention to in verse 15.

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary who both killed the Lord Jesus, and ‍‍their own prophets

who both killed the Lord Jesus, and ‍‍their own prophets

15 τῶν καὶ τὸν κύριον ἀποκτεινάντων Ἰησοῦν καὶ τοὺς προφήτας


Now, I do want to say - at the outset of this two-verse section here - that violent Anti-Semitism does not please God. The Jews as a people have been persecuted throughout the centuries. And we condemn that kind of treatment of anyone - and certainly of God’s chosen people, the Jews.

And so, for anyone to read what we’re about to read concerning some very unflattering realities regarding the Jews who have not received their Messiah - and to use these very plain realities in order to oppress or harm or kill Jews - would be and is completely wrong.

The Apostle Paul himself loved his fellow-countrymen, the Jews - even the ones who were trying to kill him. He wanted them to be saved and he worked tirelessly to bring them the gospel.

But at the same time, that desire for their good didn’t lead him to lie concerning their utterly hard hearts and wicked ways.

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary who … killed the Lord Jesus …

And so, Paul begins speaking of those wicked ways by stating that the unbelieving Jews killed the Lord Jesus.

Now, they certainly weren’t alone in this. The Romans participated as well. And to the extent that each one of us is a sinner in need of Jesus’ dying for our sins, we too are to blame. And with great grief and gratitude, we own our part in our Savior’s death for us.

Nevertheless, it’s undeniable that the Jews handed Jesus over to the Romans to be killed. It’s undeniable Scripturally that the unbelieving Jews called for and demanded Jesus’ death. The unbelieving Jews - who were persecuting their fellow-Jews who received Jesus Christ - they did in fact kill Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary who … killed … their own prophets

And those Jews were just acting like their unbelieving ancestors - who killed the prophets.

•           Jesus - when he was on earth - addressed the city of Jerusalem as if it were a person and he lamented that it had been engaged in this activity of killing the prophets in days gone by (Matthew 23:37).

•           Jesus accused the ancestors of the Jews of his day of killing the prophets (Luke 11:47).

•           Stephen rhetorically asked the Jews - who were about to kill him - which of the prophets their ancestors did not kill (Acts 7:52). The answer - of course - is that for most of the history of God sending prophets to Israel, it wasn’t Gentiles who were killing the prophets. It was the Jews who killed their own.

•           But even back in the Old Testament, Elijah - himself a prophet - declared to the Lord that his contemporary Jewish compatriots had killed God’s prophets and that they were coming after him next (Romans 11:3)!

So, unbelieving Jews in times past - from the perspective of the writing of 1 Thessalonians - had killed the messengers that God had sent to them - Jesus and the prophets in the Old Testament.

But they of course didn’t stop there. The unbelieving Jews of Paul’s day continued to reject those who were sent to them by God with his truth…

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary and have ‍‍persecuted us

and have ‍‍persecuted us

καὶ ἡμᾶς ἐκδιωξάντων,


And of course, most immediately in Paul’s mind concerning persecution that he and Silas endured would have been what happened to them in Thessalonica and Philippi. You recall that in the former case Paul and Silas were run out of town by a mob. And in the latter case they were arrested and beaten and imprisoned.

So, what was Paul’s mindset about this persecution? Was he bitter? Angry? Was he calling for revenge and pogroms (POH-grums) and violence against these persecuting Jews?

No.

•           Paul tells us - like Jesus did as well - to bless and not curse our persecutors (Romans 12:14).

•           Paul said that when he was persecuted he just endured it (1 Corinthians 4:12), being careful to remember that he wasn’t forsaken by God (2 Corinthians 4:9).

•           Despite persecution, Paul just kept preaching the cross and not moralism - not a salvation based on your works (Galatians 5:11).

•           And he just came to this settled determination that everyone who attempts to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12).

So, that was Paul’s attitude toward the persecution he suffered. He didn’t take it personally. He patiently endured it and continued to do right for Christ’s sake to glorify God.

But the unbelieving Jews on the other hand had no such desire to glorify God…

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary and ‍‍they please not God

and ‍‍they please not God

καὶ θεῷ μὴ ἀρεσκόντων,


And this is because of the truth that Paul states elsewhere - that those who are in the flesh - those who have not been saved - cannot please God (Romans 8:8).

But that wasn’t the case with Paul. He told the Thessalonians earlier in 1 Thessalonians 2:4 that because he was entrusted with the gospel, he sought to speak in a way that would please God.

But there was a time in the apostle Paul’s life where he thought that he was pleasing God - but in fact God wasn’t at all pleased. Jesus warned his disciples that there would be a time coming when those who killed Christians would think that they were serving God by doing so (John 16:2). And this is the reality that Paul related to King Agrippa concerning his life before Christ - that he was convinced that it was necessary to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus the Nazarene (Acts 26:9).

So, Paul had been there. He knew what it was like to feel that in order to please God he had to persecute Christ and Christians. How shocking - then - to discover that that was not at all the case. Paul came to understand that instead of doing God’s will, opposing Jesus Christ was supremely displeasing to the God he thought he was worshipping.

So, the unbelieving Jews - as much as they think they are - they are not pleasing to God. Their relationship to God is not good.

And neither is their relationship to their fellow-man…

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary and ‍‍are contrary to all men

and ‍‍are contrary to all men

καὶ πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις ἐναντίων, 

Picture getting into a sailboat and hoisting the sails to the wind hoping to go one direction - but the wind keeps pushing you back the opposite direction. That’s the way in which this word “contrary” is used in the New Testament.

Mankind - according to Paul and according to God himself speaking through him - is like that sailboat and the unbelieving Jews are like that contrary wind - holding them back from their intended destination.

But what is that destination that these unbelieving Jews were holding people back from?

We see the answer to that in verse 16.

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary Verse 16

1 Thessalonians 2:16 AV 1873

16 forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.

Paul says that the unbelieving Jews were holding people back from being saved…

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved

forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved

16 κωλυόντων ἡμᾶς τοῖς ἔθνεσιν λαλῆσαι ἵνα σωθῶσιν,


Strangely enough - the first individuals in the New Testament who were said to have attempted to forbid others from coming to Christ … were Christ’s own disciples! In that case, they were trying to prevent Jesus from being burdened by having to deal with little kids. But Jesus told those disciples - don’t forbid the children from coming to me (Matthew 19:14).

And thankfully, the disciples listened and obeyed. But the unbelieving Jews don’t do that.

In fact, Jesus himself rebuked the experts in the Jewish religious law because - not only did they not receive Jesus’ word - but they actually hindered and tried to prevent those who were themselves receiving Christ’s word (Luke 11:52).

And we see numerous instances of this dynamic in the life of the Apostle Paul - where the unbelieving Jews are trying to prevent the Gentiles - the non-Jews - from hearing and receiving the message of the gospel. In fact, that very thing happened in Thessalonica as is recorded in Acts 17:1-9. You might recall that in that passage Paul and Silas preach Christ in the synagogue, several Jews were persuaded - but so were numerous Gentiles. And what happened as a result was that the unbelieving Jews were moved with envy and they formed a mob and sought to attack the believers in that city. The Thessalonian believers would have remembered this and had in mind how the unbelieving Jews tried to hinder them from trusting Jesus Christ.

Well, the result of this constant hindering of God’s messengers from giving his saving message to the Gentiles is described this way…

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary to fill up their sins alway

to fill up their sins alway

εἰς τὸ ἀναπληρῶσαι αὐτῶν τὰς ἁμαρτίας πάντοτε.


Hindering people from hearing and believing the gospel results in filling up your sin always.

Paul portrays it as if there’s a quota of sin that needs to be met in order for something to occur.

So, what is it that will happen as people - and in this context, unbelieving Jews - fill up this quota of sin?…

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary for ‍‍the wrath ‍‍is come upon them ‍‍to the uttermost

for ‍‍the wrath ‍‍is come upon them ‍‍to the uttermost

ἔφθασεν δὲ ἐπʼ αὐτοὺς ἡ ὀργὴ εἰς τέλος.


So, Paul is saying that wrath from God has come upon the unbelieving Jews to the end.

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary wrath ‍‍is come upon them

Wrath is God’s settled anger as a response to unrepentant sin. The way that God reacts toward the unbelieving Jews - or any religious-but-lost person - is wrath.

In fact, John the Evangelist tells us that if anyone doesn’t believe Christ, wrath abides on him right now (John 3:36).

The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against those who suppress the truth - they know it, but they won’t submit to it - and they do so in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18).

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary to the uttermost

And this wrath is “to the uttermost”. Or “to the end”. It will never stop. It’s constant. It’s abiding.

Until the unbelieving religious or irreligious person believes Jesus Christ, wrath has come and will finally come forever upon that individual - if he doesn’t repent and trust Jesus Christ to forgive his sins.

1 Thessalonians 2 Commentary Conclusion

So, all mankind is left with a choice in how we respond to God’s truth.

You've been presented with two very different responses to God’s truth and the results of each response.

You’ve seen the correct response. Positively, you’re to receive God’s truth, believe it, and even be willing to suffer for it.

Or, negatively, the response to God’s truth that you want to avoid and repent of if you see it in your heart to any degree includes rejecting that truth yourself and/or hindering others from receiving God’s truth.

May the Lord help us receive his truth and help others who are now rejecting it to follow our example.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.