**2 Thessalonians 1:3-5 **
3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. 4 Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. 5 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—
There is a spiritual obligation to thank God in prayer when He accomplishes great things in the lives of His saints. That was the case with the obedient Thessalonians, who had demonstrated growth in faith and love since the first letter (1 Thessalonians). This was in direct answer to Paul’s prayers (1Thesalonians 1:3, 3:12).
Nowhere was their growth in faith and love more evident than in the way they patiently and faithfully endured hostilities and suffering from the enemies of Christ. Although there was no need to speak, since the Thessalonians’ lives spoke clearly enough (1 Thesalonians 1:8), Paul expressed joy before the Lord over their perseverance.
Having a right attitude toward suffering is essential, and that required attitude is concern for the Kingdom of God. They were not self-centered, but concentrated on God’s Kingdom. Their focus was not on personal comfort, fulfillment, and happiness, but on the glory of God and the fulfillment of His purposes. They were not moaning about the injustice of their persecution. Rather, they were patiently enduring the sufferings they did not deserve. This very attitude was positive proof that God’s wise process of purging, purifying, and perfecting through suffering was working to make His beloved people worthy of the Kingdom by being perfected (James 1:2-4, 1 Peter 5:10). For believers, afflictions are to be expected (1 Thessalonians 3:3) as they live and develop Christian character in a satanic world. Suffering is not to be thought of as evidence that God has forsaken them, but evidence that He is with them, perfecting them (Matthew 5:10, Romans 8:18, 2 Corinthians 12:10). So the Thessalonians demonstrated that their salvation, determined by faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ, was genuine because they, like Christ, were willing to suffer on account of God and His Kingdom. They suffered unjustly as objects of man’s wrath against Christ and His Kingdom (Acts 5:41, Philippians 3:10, Colossians 1:24). “Kingdom of God” is used here in its spiritual sense of salvation (Matthew 3:2).