“…since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you…“
Verse 4 explains that persecution and tribulation were obvious signs of God’s righteous judgment. God righteously measures out to each believer a certain amount of affliction while we are here on earth in time, but it will get better by and by. The best is yet ahead for the believer.
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
The worst is yet ahead for the non-believer. Paul assures the Thessalonians that God will persecute the persecutors (1:6-10). God shows the features of His future justice for both the Christian and the non-Christian. Paul begins with God dealing with the non-Christian in this verse.
The word “since” means if indeed. The word “since” defends God’s righteous judgment (1:5) because it assumes as true that God will make things right.
it is a righteous thing with God
We can translate the word “righteous” by the word just. God’s absolute righteousness demands justice. He can be nothing but fair and equitable, so He will settle the score with those who persecute the saints.
to repay with tribulation
The word “repay” carries the idea of recompense, give back as an equivalent, pay back in kind. God will give back to the persecutors of the Thessalonians the same kind of treatment they gave in return. They get correspondent treatment or retribution for the persecution of the saints. Because God is righteous, He incurs an obligation to do this. His retribution is not a matter of personal vengeance but justice. This is future retribution whereby God will deal with those who persecuted the saints.
those who trouble you
The Thessalonian persecution proves a coming judgment on the persecutors. God will requite them for their wrongs. God afflicts the afflicters.
“But if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries” (Exodus 23:22).
”Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19).
What goes around will come around.
God is absolutely righteous. He cannot be anything otherwise. Because of this, He always deals justly. He cannot be anything other than just. The seeming prosperity of the wicked will end at the final judgment. God has not yet avenged the wicked. God would be unjust if there were no deferred judgment.
Christians should expect trouble in this life because we march to a different drumbeat – the drumbeat of Jesus Christ. Christians should not be surprised that they face trouble from those without Christ because people do not like Jesus to show them up for what they are. Because of this, they make the Christian a speckled bird. They ostracize Christians who take a stand. We will be misrepresented, misquoted, misunderstood, and misinterpreted.
No Christian wants to be unpopular with people, but there is something that transcends popularity. He wants to be popular with Jesus first. That automatically puts him in the minority.
God will recompense those who persecute the saints. They will get theirs one day. In the meantime, man does as he pleases. He defies God, morality, and decency. He calls wrong right and right wrong. He claims that perversion is normal, and morality is a perversion. They say, “Let your conscience be your guide,” but their conscience is like a rubber band that can stretch in any direction anyone wants it to go.
Some people have their heaven here, not hereafter. Do you want your “heaven” here or hereafter?