5 “All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.”
2 Thessalonians 1:5 (NIV)
Referees are paid to call only what they see and to call it right. They can’t guess. They can’t assume. And they can’t be mistaken or fooled. They must cover ground faithfully to take in all that’s there. They must take great pride in seeing the game properly, getting the most accurate feel for the game and its people. Finally, they must know the rulebook well and apply it fairly, judiciously, uncompromisingly. The best referees do all this at breakneck speed.
Players must honor and adjust their play or get in foul trouble. Playing the game of life often means inevitable foul trouble and need of a substitute. In order to guarantee victory, a change has to be made.
Athlete, God is Ultimate Referee, Remarkable Substitute, Eternal Reward. He loves the game and its people. He sees all, knows all. Nothing escapes His attention. He knows the rulebook perfectly and applies it with both unflinching truth and prodigal (extravagant) grace. His play on our behalf insures our triumph and His glory.
Let’s see all this play out in 2 Thessalonians 1:5. Here’s what God wants us to be clear about:
God’s judgment is right. Deal with it. He doesn’t miss a call. He examines both our blamelessness (righteousness) and our blame (sin). He wants to see righteousness win and grieves when it doesn’t. God offers hope that we can stay out of foul trouble, that we can be “counted worthy of the kingdom of God.” This hope is found through His Son. The Son becomes blame-bearer and sin-substitute. Our sins (serious foul trouble) get pinned to Him. For those counted worthy, suffering is temporary but triumph is inevitable. The most perfect wins often push through the greatest pain. Hang in there!
The bottom line of the gospel simply becomes this:
Holy God in love became Perfect Man to bear my blame. On the cross He took my sin. By His death I live again.