[God will] grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed. (2 Thessalonians 1:7–10)
When Jesus returns to this earth, which he has promised to do, those who have not believed the gospel, Paul says, “will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.” This is a terrible prospect that should terrify all unbelievers who hear this truth.
And oh, how it should sober us who do believe and fill us with seriousness about what is at stake in this world. Oh, how it should cause compassion to rise in our hearts for those who do not believe, or do not even know, the gospel.
But to sustain us in all our afflictions here Paul gives us two amazing words of encouragement and hope. “[God will] grant relief to you who are afflicted.” If we experience a terrible intensification of affliction near the end of history, God’s word is: Hold fast: relief is on the way. Your afflictions will not have the last word. And your seemingly powerful adversaries will regret the day they touched the Lord’s people.
But then comes the best word of encouragement and hope. Not only will we get relief when the Lord comes, but we will get the greatest experience that we were created for in the first place: We will see his glory, and marvel at it in such a way that he will be glorified in us for all the world to see.
Verse 10: “He comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed.” We were made to marvel. Nothing and no one is more marvelous than the crucified, risen, returning King of glory, Jesus Christ. He will attain the destiny of his glory, and we will attain the destiny of our joy as we begin the perfect, sinless, never-ending marveling at the greatest marvel.