“They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.” (2 Thessalonians 1:9-10 )
Lenaert Plovier, moved by the verse above, wrote to his children the following words. “Behold, dear children, that the Word of the Lord is food for the soul, by which the soul must live; and he that does not govern his life according to these words, is threatened with eternal damnation, as Christ says: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3. Hence Christ says: “Repent ye, and believe the gospel; for the axe is laid unto the root of the trees; therefore, every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” Mark 1:15; Matt. 3:10. Therefore, dear children, see that you escape punishment; for those who do not obey the Gospel shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord. 2 Thess. 1:9. O dear children, behold what punishment shall come upon him who does not obey the Gospel – eternal banishment from the face of God, and everlasting punishment. Hence, dear children, prepare while you have time.”
Echoing what Will wrote yesterday, I want to emphasize the importance of this message. When it talks about everlasting destruction and being shut it, it means everyone who has turned away or ignored the message of God. And it is a painful thought. Every believer who knows of someone who has turned away from God worries and grieves for that unbelieving person.
The writer of 2 Thessalonians is writing to a community of believers, and so writes in the assurance that his audience is included in God’s holy people. In today’s world we dare not assume that the people we encounter are believers unless they have expressed that belief in word and deed. It is why Plovier wrote so impassionedly to his children, because he felt it was serious enough that he dare not take the chance that they might not be believers.
In our modern society evangelism is held in varying levels of approval. In some places evangelism happens naturally and daily. In other places evangelism is held in low regard as are sometimes Christians. Those impassioned with their faith are scorned and ridiculed, or criticized for opinions and actions that other Christians in other places and times have taken. Professing one’s faith and exhorting others to faith is not always popular. But it is this very attitude that verses such as the ones above are speaking to. What is a believing Christian to do?
May you, gentle and believing reader, continue to express your faith and encourage others to believe also. Selah!