“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. “ (Reference: 2 Thessalonians 1:9-10 )
The writer of 2 Thessalonians was writing to a people who had believed in God, and the writer’s warning about those who did not believe was tempered with the assurance that the writer’s audience did believe – therefore I believe it was a positive message.
The historic Anabaptist, Lenaert Plovier, wrote to his children saying, “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.” And this seems like a negative pessimistic message to me.
I have read writings where the message is of constant correction and need for repentance. Not all of the historic Anabaptist writing comes from that exhortation, a “hellfire and brimstone” perspective if you will; but it is hard to remember that when it seems like for many weeks we have been steeped in that sort of message. And it is especially hard to read, and write on in the Christmas season. Five years ago it seems I was more able to address these sort of verses without becoming weary of the constant message of correcting wrong living. Back then I wrote This includes you! which also noted that the message of Plovier was for those not living as he and other historic Anabaptist thought they should.
And I wonder, off and on, why it is draining on me. Part of it might be my own health is more precarious than 5 years ago. Another reason might be that I have also been writing Advent and Christmas themed posting and so have been looking at our coming hope rather than doom. And I cannot discount the fact that I have been writing solo and that I have been doing this for many years. I think than the change I am planning for 2015 will be good for me, and I hope it will be beneficial to you too beloved.
It is my hope and prayer that you are not among the godless, beloved. It is my hope and prayer you are like those Thessalonians who believe in the life and testimony of Jesus Christ. Selah!