1 Thes.1:2,3 – We always give thanks to God for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly keeping in mind your work of faith and labor of love and perseverance of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father,
Today’s verse captured me recently when I was having my daily devotional time. Sometimes the simplest scripture can really capture us. This verse could be viewed as just Paul’s words of introduction which we often just gloss over. A closer look can gives us a glimpse into the powerful work of Christ in us, even in the newest of converts.
Paul had planted the church in Thessalonica recently, and was giving thanks to God for these precious converts to the faith. He gave us a glimpse into how Paul knew they were really saved. In the next two verses in the text, Paul said he knew they were part of the elect (Paul’s words, not mine) because the preaching came in the power of the Spirit. That convinced Paul they were truly saved. Matthew Henry explains what else Paul saw in that church that filled his heart with thanksgiving. Check his comments out.
“Wherever there is a true faith, it will work: it will have an influence upon heart and life; it will put us upon working for God and for our own salvation. We have comfort in our own faith and the faith of others when we perceive the work of faith….Love is one of the cardinal graces; it is of great use to us in this life and will remain and be perfected in the life to come. Faith works by love; it shows itself in the exercise of love to God and love to our neighbor; as love will show itself by labour, it will put us upon taking pains in religion…..We are saved by hope.…. Wherever there is a well-grounded hope of eternal life, it will appear by the exercise of patience; in a patient bearing of the calamities of the present time and a patient waiting for the glory to be revealed.”
He said the proof was faith, love, and hope. These are spiritual graces and evidence of authentic conversion. This church in Thessalonica was doing the work of faith on living a brand new life. They were displaying the love of God for the Lord and for Christians and non Christians alike. They were also filled with a hope that pushes on against adversity. These are the evidences of God’s grace working in our hearts. Faith love, and hope are working in His sons and daughters still today.