Here is yet another passage that the Protestant paradigm of sola fide chokes on.
This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be made worthy of the kingdom of God. (2Th 1:5)
What is this evidence of which St. Paul speaks? It is found in verse 4:
your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions which you are enduring.
Based on sola fide, there is no coherent way to understand these verses. In the first place, the Protestant denies that anyone is “made worthy” of heaven, but rather says that he is declared worthy of it on the basis of Christ’s atonement. There is no need for him to be made worthy of heaven at all because he attains it not on the basis of his personal worthiness but rather on the basis of sola fide reliance upon being declared justified.
I know of no rational way to make sola fide “fit” with what St. Paul says in 2 Th. 1:5. If a man must be made worthy of God’s kingdom, then mere reliance on justification sola fide will never be sufficient. We do not enter God’s presence on the basis of a legal fiction (being declared righteous when we really aren’t); we enter God’s presence because He makes us genuinely righteous through Christ. In this way what St. Paul says makes some sense (though more could undoubtedly be said) because we truly must be made worthy to enter into the kingdom of God.