A foreshadowing of God’s judgment.
A life of faithfulness to God is not without hardship and suffering (1 Thess 3:1–4). Paul assures us, however, that the justice of God will triumph over all unrighteousness. Persecution and suffering should be opportunities for Christians to grow in their faith and love for one another. By relating to Jesus the images used in the Old Testament to describe the revelation of God (1 Thess 4:16–17), Paul emphasizes that it is through Jesus that God comes into the world with his truth and passes judgment on it. By figuratively representing the judgment that Jesus will make, Paul wants to make us aware that our future will be determined by our acceptance or rejection of Jesus and his gospel (Luke 12:8–9). In contrast to those who, while united to Jesus today, will remain united to him forever in the future (1 Thess 4:17), the fate of those who refuse to accept the truth is described as eternal distance from God and his power (2 Thess 1:9).
This passage on God’s judgement teachs that four things:
Why does God reveal his dread judgement and his glory to us? to help us towards righteousness. “If the fear of an earthly king withdraws us from so many evils, how much more they fear of the king eternal” (St. John Chrysostom).
How we bare up under unjust persecution now is “manifest evidence” (1:5) of how we will stand at the final judgement.
Paul teaches hear that God’s calling and the work of faith are a unity through our corporation with God’s power (see James 2).