2 Thessalonians 1:8
in blazing fire. He will inflict vengeance on those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
Sermons
Christ's ComingT. Manton, D. D.2 Thessalonians 1:8
Degrees of Divine KnowledgeJ. Culross, D. D.2 Thessalonians 1:8
Ignorance and DisobedienceT. Manton , D. D.2 Thessalonians 1:8
Ignorance of GodJ. Wesley.2 Thessalonians 1:8
Loyalty and Disloyalty to the GospelDr. Rees.2 Thessalonians 1:8
Manifestation of Solemn InterestR. Finlayson 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12
The Future Judgment as to its RighteousnessT. Croskery 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10
The Judgment DayW.F. Adeney 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10
Joy and Terror in the Coming of the LordThe Study2 Thessalonians 1:7-10
The Coming of Christ with His AngelsT. Manton, D. D.2 Thessalonians 1:7-10
The Great DayB.C. Caffin 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10


I. THE JUDGMENT OF THE WICKED.

1. The revelation of the Judge. It is the Lord Jesus, who once was despised and rejected of men; he is ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. He shall come as God once came down on Mount Sinai, in the like awful glory.

(1) With the angels. They shall gather the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire. The angels will be the ministers of his justice - the blessed angels who are now the messengers of his love and grace. Now they rejoice over each sinner that repenteth; then they will cast the impenitent into the everlasting fire. We think of the angels as gentle, loving, holy, as our friends and guardians; they are so, so far as we are Christ's. They desire to look into the mysteries of redemption; they announced the Saviour's birth; they ministered to him in his temptation, his agony; they celebrated his resurrection and ascension. Now they are sent forth to minister for them that shall be heirs of salvation; they encamp round about those who fear the Lord, and deliver them. They help in carrying on his blessed work of love. But they are holy; they hate evil; they must turn away from those who have yielded themselves to the dominion of the evil one; they must execute at the last the awful judgment of God. Fearful thought, that the blessed angels, loving and holy as they are, must one day cast the hardened sinner into hell, as once they cast Satan out of heaven.

(2) In flaming fire. The Lord shall be revealed in flaming fire, in that glory which he had before the world was. His throne is fiery flame (Daniel 7:9). He himself is a consuming fire. The sight will be appalling to the lost, full of unutterable terror; "they shall say to the rocks, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us." "By thine agony and bloody sweat, by thy cross and passion, good Lord, deliver us."

2. The lost. Two classes are mentioned here.

(1) Those who know not God - the heathen. They might have known him. Some of them did know him. They had not the Law, the outward Law, but it was written in their hearts; God spoke to them in the voice of conscience. They listened; they did by nature the things contained in the Law. Such men, we are sure, God in his great mercy will accept and save. But, alas! the fearful picture drawn by St. Paul in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans represents with only too much truth the general state of the heathen world in the apostolic times. Their blindness was criminal; it was the result of willful and habitual sin; their ignorance was without excuse.

(2) Those who obeyed not the gospel. All, whether Jews or Gentiles, who had heard the preaching of Christ. They had heard, as we have, all that the Lord Jesus had done and suffered for us; they had had the opportunity of hearing his holy precepts. "This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light." To know the gospel and not to obey it, to have the light around us and not to admit it into our hearts, not to walk as children of light - this must bring the judgment of God upon the disobedient. The greater the light, the heavier the responsibility of those who sin against light and knowledge.

3. The punishment. The Lord Jesus will award vengeance. "Vengeance is mine; I will recompense, saith the Lord." Terrible thought, that vengeance must come from him, the most loving Saviour, who loved the souls of men with a love so burning, so intense in its Divine tenderness! But it must be so. The exceeding guilt of sin is manifest in this; it turns the chiefest of blessings into an increase of condemnation; the cross is utter death to the impenitent and the ungodly. And that vengeance takes effect in destruction. The destruction is eternal; then it is not annihilation. It is the destruction of all gladness, hope, all that makes life worth living; it is the exclusion from the face of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. Only the pure in heart can see God. The lost souls cannot see his face. The exclusion is eternal; is it endless? It continues through the ages; will those ages of misery ever end in restoration? Can a soul, once so hardened in guilt that it must be shut out of the presence of God, ever repent in that exclusion? It sinned obstinately against light during its time of probation; can it recover itself now that the light is withdrawn? It is hardened through the deceitfulness of sin and the power of evil habits; can it break those chains of darkness now? These are dark, awful questions. We may ask, on the other hand, how can "God be all in all," if sin is to exist forever? how can it be that "in Christ shall all be made alive," while there is still a hell in the universe of God? The subject is beset with difficulties and perplexities; it excites bewildering, harrowing thoughts. We must leave it where Holy Scripture leaves it. We would gladly believe, if it were possible, that there is hope beyond the grave for those who die unblest; but such an expectation has no scriptural authority beyond a few slight and doubtful hints. Who would dare to trust to a hope so exceeding slender? No; if we shrink in terror from the thought of being one day shut out of God's presence into the great outer darkness, let us try to live in that gracious presence now.

II. THE GLORY OF THE RIGHTEOUS.

1. Its time: when he shall come. They suffer now; sometimes they are persecuted, their name is cast out as evil. But they have their consolation; they see indeed through a glass darkly, but yet they do see by faith the glory of the Lord; they are changed into the same image from glory to glory as by the Lord the Spirit. They have a glory now; but it is an inner spiritual glory derived from the indwelling of the blessed Spirit whom the world seeth not, neither knoweth. Now they are the sons of God; when he shall appear, they shall be like him, for they shall see him as he is.

2. Its nature: the unveiled presence of Christ. He shall be glorified in his saints. "I am glorified in them," he said, when about to leave them. When he comes again, that glory shall shine forth in all its radiant splendour. He shall be admired in all them that believe. The glory of his presence abiding in them shall arouse the wondering admiration of all. The lost spirits will wonder; they will be amazed at the strangeness of the salvation of the blessed. "This is he" (Wisd. 5:3, 5) "whom we sometimes had in derision... how is he numbered among the children of God, and his lot is among the saints?" The very angels will wonder at the exceeding glory of the Lord shining in his saints. For he will change the body of their humiliation, and make it like the body of his glory.

LESSONS.

1. We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; let us keep that awful day in our thoughts.

2. Think on the fearful misery of eternal separation from God; live in his presence now.

3. We hope to be like him in his glory; let us take up the cross. - B.C.C.









In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and obey not the gospel
I. THE TERRIBLE MANNER OF CHRIST'S COMING. "In flaming fire," which serves —

1. To set forth the majesty of the Judge (Acts 7:20; Deuteronomy 5:22, 23; Psalm 50:3).

2. As the instrument of punishment on the wicked (Matthew 13:42; Matthew 25:41).

3. To burn up the world (2 Peter 3:10, 11).

II. THE PERSONS BROUGHT TO JUDGMENT AND THE RULES OF PROCEDURE.

1. Some had no other discovery of God but from the course of nature and the instincts of conscience — these shall not be judged for not believing in Christ, but for not knowing God (Romans 2:12-15). Therefore among the Gentiles —

(1)All Atheists who deny God's Being are obnoxious to judgment.

(2)All idolaters who corrupt the worship of God.

(3)All wicked men who when they know God glorify Him not as God, etc. (Romans 1:21).

(4)All who despise and resist God's authority (Exodus 5:2). What is all this to us?To teach us —(1) That ignorance of God excuses no man from judgment. Whether foreign nations or His own people, God will punish them for wilful ignorance of necessary things.(2) That it is not enough to know God unless we know Him as we ought to know Him (Titus 1:16).(3) That the more means there are of knowing God, the greater the crime if we do not know His will (Luke 12:47).

2. Some having a discovery of Christ and His salvation are judged by the gospel.(1) All such obey not the gospel.

(a)Who obstinately refuse to entertain the doctrine of Christ and His salvation (1 Peter 4:17).

(b)Who profess to believe but practically deny (Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 3:6).

(c)Who apostatize (Hebrews 10:39).(2) Who shall be judged by the terror of the gospel dispensation.(a) Those who have lived in the clear sunshine of the gospel (Mark 16:16). They are condemned because of their sins against God, and their refusal of the remedy (John 3:18, 19).(b) Those to whom the object of faith was more obscurely propounded.

(i)Those who lived before or after the Flood. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are in the chronicle of faith (Hebrews 11; 1 Peter 3:19, 20).

(ii)Those who lived under the legal administration of the covenant of grace shall be judged according to that (Romans 2:12). The law was more manifest, but the way of salvation was clear enough (Psalm 130:3, 4; Psalm 143:2).

(iii)Those who lived under the ministry of John and of our Lord (John 8:24).

(iv)Those who, under the dispensation of the Spirit, know Christ more or less: Mohammedans and Jews.

(v)Those Christians to whom Christ is offered more or less purely: Papists, Socinians, etc. However God may deal with the vulgar who err in the simplicity of their hearts, we know not; but their leaders are terribly responsible.

(T. Manton, D. D.)

I. "KNOW NOT GOD." There is a twofold knowledge of God.

1. Speculative.(1) The bare sight of the truth; empty and cold notions about God and religion.

(a)Such as many of the heathen have (Romans 1:21).

(b)The Jews (Romans 2:19, 20).

(c)Formal Christians (2 Timothy 3:5).(2) There are different degrees of this knowledge.(a) Memorative, such as children have who are taught to speak of Divine mysteries by rote, but are not affected by them.(b) Opinionative, when not only the memory is charged but the judgment exercised, yet wisdom enters not upon the heart (Proverbs 2:10). This makes men disputers about, but not practicers of godliness (Proverbs 2:10).(c) Sufficiently cordial to be reformative but not regenerating.

2. Practical and saving. We must know God —

(1)So as to trust in Him (Psalm 9:10).

(2)So as to love Him (1 Corinthians 8:3).

(3)So as to obey Him (1 John 2:4; Jeremiah 22:16).Our practices must speak out our knowledge. So then all they that know not God so as to fear Him for His majesty and power, love Him for His goodness, trust Him for His wisdom, imitate Him for His holiness, obey Him for His authority, so as to seek Him and delight in Him, are obnoxious to Christ's judgment. He has no religion who has no god, and he has no god who prefers his lusts to obedience.

II. "THAT OBEY NOT THE GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST." It is not enough to profess the gospel, we must obey it. This obedience is necessary whether we consider —

1. The gospel which is the sum of things to be believed and done. Its three commands are —

(1)Repentance (Isaiah 1:19, 20).

(2)Faith in Christ (1 John 3:23; Hebrews 2:3).

(3)New obedience (Titus 2:12).

2. Faith, which also implies obedience (Romans 10:16; Romans 1:5; Romans 16:26; Acts 6:7) for it is a hearty consent to take the blessedness offered for our happiness, the duty required for our work, and so has an influence on our whole obedience.

3. Christ.

(1)His example (Hebrews 5:8, 9; Philippians 2:8).

(2)His authority and sovereignty (Acts 5:31).

III. USES.

1. If you would have the comfort and not the terror of the Day of Judgment, you must obey the gospel (Romans 6:16).

2. What we have to do is to study to know the Lord, that we may believe in Him and serve Him.

(T. Manton , D. D.)

We read of an ancient king who, desiring to ascertain what was the natural language of man, ordered two infants as soon as they were born, to be conveyed to a place prepared for them, where they were brought up without any instruction, and without ever hearing a human voice, and what was the event! Why that when they were at length brought out of their confinement, they spake no language at all; they uttered only inarticulate sounds like those of other animals. Were two infants in like manner to be brought up from the womb without being instructed in any religion, there is little room to doubt but (unless the grace of God interposed) the event would be just the same. They would have no religion at all: no more knowledge of God than the beasts of the field. Such is natural religion abstracted from traditional and from the influences of God's Spirit.

(J. Wesley.)

A young child who has hitherto fancied that the rim of the sky rests on the earth a few miles away, and that the whole world lies within that circle, sails down the Forth there, and sees the river banks gradually widening, and the river passing into a frith. When he comes back he tells his companions how large the ocean is. Poor boy! he has not seen the ocean — only the widened river. Just so with all creature knowledge of God. Though all the archangels were to utter all they knew there would still remain an infirmity untold.

(J. Culross, D. D.)

During the Civil War in America those who were loyal displayed the banner of the United States on every house almost throughout the country. Such was the case in Fredericksburg: but when the inhabitants found that Stonewall Jackson and a regiment of Confederates were approaching, they all, with one exception, were frightened and concealed their signs of loyalty. An elderly woman named Barbara Frike had the courage to display the banner outside her window. When the general saw it he ordered the soldiers to fire at it. In the midst of the fire and the smoke the old dame put her head out, and shouted, "Strike my grey head, but spare the banner of my country." Her courage overpowered the general, and he ordered his men to let her alone.

(Dr. Rees.)

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