1 & 2 Thessalonians
1. Earlier in this study a question was posed about whether one had to understand the “bad news” before embracing the “good news.” Paul, in these passages in Thessalonians, emphasizes the believer’s deliverance from God’s wrath. If God is love and bears no wrath toward man with respect to sin, then is all of this discussion about a great exchange just hot air? What doctrinal difficulties would one run into if God has no wrath toward sinners? What doctrinal difficulties would one run into if the satisfaction of God’s wrath is accomplished in some way other than the crucifixion of Christ?
2. How important is it to understand the full breadth and scope of God’s wrath? Would you feel a sense of welcome into God’s family and security in His presence if God’s entire wrath against you weren’t satisfied? If you don’t sense that you are welcome in God’s presence, what may be missing in your experience? Would it be consistent with God’s character to leave some aspect of His wrath unsatisfied? Does an appreciation of the extent of God’s wrath increase or decrease your gratefulness for Christ’s satisfaction of God’s wrath on your behalf?
3. Have you noticed that we often don’t want to call something by its real name because we are uncomfortable with it or it’s embarrassing? When a loved one dies, we say, “he passed away” or “he’s gone to glory.” Even the Bible reflects this in saying that Christians who have died have “fallen asleep.” Of what is Paul trying to reassure the Thessalonians in regard to those believers that have died? Is the foundation of the hope that Paul seeks to instill in them the expectation of seeing loved ones again? Does this hope encourage one when facing death? If you were facing death, we all do, by the way, what, or rather, who is your singular hope?