2Thess. 1:5:10 “This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to 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, because our testimony to you was believed.”
What a difference between the first appearing of our Lord in the days of His flesh and this second appearing in flaming—flaming fire and judgment of God when He descends in the glory of the Father with all of His holy angels “to be admired in them that believe” and “to be glorified in His saints.” When He was first here, He was of no repute, scorned and despised. Herod Antipas held Him contempt and scornful indifference. But when He shall come back to earth again, what a tremendous difference! This idea brings terror to a man that is not a Christian if he is not prepared, if he has not given his heart to Jesus, when he “shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God” .
No wonder lost people and ungodly people do not like to hear it mentioned, do not like to hear the subject discussed or referred to, for that day is an awful day for them. Their lives are in this world and that day is the end of this world. Their lives are consumed in pleasure or the vanities of this existence. And when God comes in Christ, all of that turns to smoke, to ashes, to dust. And not only that, but they face a retribution, a vengeance from God, an awful judgment. These are those who Peter says scoff at the idea of the Lord’s second coming and deliberately ignore His warnings (2 Peter 3:1-13). They carry on in their disdain for God and His gospel as one who is proverbially whistling in the dark or whistling as they pass a graveyard at night falsely confident that nothing bad could happen when they subconsciously knowpay day is some day. I cannot help but to think of the classic sermon of God’s judgement on Ahab and Jezebel by Dr. R.G. Lee Pay Day Someday
But do you notice when Paul describes that, he does this description of the destruction of the unbeliever by incidental reference? That is not why Christ comes. It has to be done—the destruction of the wicked; the damnation of those who refuse the mercies of God—but the great thing for which Christ comes is “when He shall come to be glorified in His saints and to be admired in all them that believe.” The damnation of the wicked, the destruction of the violent, the judgment of those who refuse Christ, this is not the thing in which His Spirit delights.
When our Lord comes, the great purpose of His coming is for exaltation, and glory, and light, and ecstasy, and gladness, and happiness and, incidentally, to build a new world and to bring in the kingdom, to bring to us the city of God. He has to destroy the wicked with the fury of His countenance and the burning of His presence. His justice and holiness demands it. So when we see the great thing Jesus is coming for, that is going to be our subject. When you preach on hell, it is because you have to. When you speak of the damned, it is just to warn. God does not exult in the death of those who refuse Christ. Neither do we. But when He comes, those things are of necessity. They have to be done. This world has to be rid of its unbelief and its unrighteousness. But the great purpose of His coming when He comes is that He going to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe.