1 Thes.1:4-6 – knowing, brothers and sisters, beloved by God, His choice of you; for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sakes. You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word during great affliction with the joy of the Holy Spirit,
Can you remember when you first believed the gospel? If you are anything like me it could have been kind of like this: I had heard the gospel and been given gospel literature many times over the years. I had even “prayed the prayer” but nothing seemed to have any effect in my life. That all changed one summer night in August forty eight years ago. Some Jesus freaks shared Jesus with me. The only thing that I remember from that conversation was someone saying “Jesus loves you and has a plan for your life”. Somehow everything was different that night. What was the difference? Electing love was drawing me in. To me, His love became simply irresistible. Here is how Albert Barnes describes today’s passage.
“From all that is said in this verse, it is evident that the power of God was remarkably manifested in the conversion of the Thessalonians, and that they embraced the gospel with an uncommonly strong conviction of its truth and value. This fact will account for the subsequent zeal which the apostle so much commends in them—for it is usually true that the character of piety in a church, as it is in an individual, is determined by the views with which the gospel is first embraced, and the purposes which are formed at the beginning of the Christian life.”
Just as the gospel came to the Thessalonians in power the gospel came to me in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the love of God calling us in. That’s what He does. He reveals the Father’s love for us with His presence, He displays the love of God as Christ’s death for us becomes real. You can hear the gospel again and again with no impact. Then one day suddenly the message makes sense and we are strangely attracted to His love. This is the the electing love of the Holy Spirit.