Sober Situation

"…by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved….so as always to fill
up the measure of their sins." 1 Thessalonians 2:13 – 16
This is a sobering text. Paul unquestionably loved the Jewish people passionately and
sacrificially (just read Romans 9 – 11). But he says here that no matter what the ethnicity of
people who commit sin, God will deal with them in discipline. Of special seriousness to Paul was
the sin of keeping other people from hearing the Gospel. Here, sadly, Paul seems to
acknowledge God's “wrath” is the fitting result of the opposition of many of the Jewish people
of his era to the Word of the Gospel (2:15 – 16) So we must at the very least conclude that it is
a dangerous thing in the eyes of God to "hinder others from salvation". God, in some way that
we don't fully understand, seems to have allowed His wrath to come down upon Israel for their
rejection of Christ and for their opposition to the Gospel. The Scripture tells us that this is a
chastisement, not an abandonment, and that it is a temporary experience of judgment that
does not remove Israel from God's plan or God's love. Even today a remnant of the Jewish
people is turning to Christ, and one day when Jesus visibly returns all Israel will turn to Him as
Savior. But for now, Israel is still tasting the bitter experience of God's judgment for their
opposition to the Gospel. It’s a sober lesson for anyone. The most life-giving message in the
world is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, God will deal seriously with any human being
who opposes its spread. That dealing may not come until eternity future, but it will eventually
arrive. Were you an opponent of the Gospel in your earlier years before you found faith? Then
join me in thanking God for the tender grace He extended to you.
Heavenly Father, You are a loving but holy God, and you always deal seriously with sin. Your
punishment is always meant to guide those under it into sincere and repentant love for You. I
know that You deeply love those who are in the Jewish faith today but who may be opposing the Gospel. Show the greatness of their Messiah to them through our message, and draw them in humility to Your Son. For His Saving Name’s sake, I pray. Amen

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