1 Thes.1:2,3 – We are grateful to God for your lives and we always pray for you. For we remember before our God and Father how you put your faith into practice, how your love motivates you to serve others, and how unrelenting is your hope-filled patience in our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians is one of the Apostle Paul’s earliest letters. He wrote it to Christians coming out of a life of sin and idolatry to their new found faith in Christ. In these opening statements, Paul acknowledges the evidence of their true conversion by stating the examples seen in their faith, love, and hope. These are three descriptions of the life of Christ and His work in our lives. Paul acknowledged their practice or work of faith. Our good works can never earn our way into heaven, but they are sure evidence that something has happened in our lives. Against all the pressure of the worldly culture in Thessalonica, they were living out their new faith. Paul also spoke about the supernatural nature of this new love found in their lives. True conversion opens our eyes to the needs of others. The same compassion that moved Christ is now moving in His people. These new believers had obviously launched out into the ministry of ministering to the hurting through love. Hope was also on display in this new church. Constant resistance and affliction can bring us into a state of depression and compliance. The hope of the kingdom of God was seen in this Thessalonican church. Nothing the enemy threw against them could put out their hope in Christ. Here is how Brian Simmons describes these verses.
“Paul mentions the three invaluable qualities of a believer’s life: faith, love, and hope. The Thessalonians put their faith into practice by turning away from all that was false. They demonstrated their motive of love by serving God and others. And they lived with undying hope that was centered upon the future appearing of Christ.”
This same life, the life of Christ, is burning in our hearts today. Our testimonies are seen clearly as we walk in faith while many in the world are collapsing in fear. The love of God that we have tasted in Christ opens our eyes to the hurting people that we encounter every day. Touching the hurting with the love of Christ is a sure evidence that Christ is working in us. Our lives are filled with hope as we anticipate the end of this age and the beginning of Christ’s reign on earth. These three qualities of Christ; faith, love, and hope displayed in His church remind us that His kingdom is near.