1 Thessalonians 3

 

Yet this great enemy Satan has already been defeated by Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:15). And in Christ’s strength, we too, taking the shield of faith, can defeat Satan (Ephesians 6:16).

6-7 The main goal of a true pastor or preacher is to lead people to Christ and then help them grow in faith and in love. A pastor or preacher is like a parent to new believers (Galatians 4:19; 1 Thessalonians 2:8,11). This is why Paul was so overjoyed to hear good news about his spiritual children in Thessalonica.

Notice that Timothy brought good news concerning the Thessalonians’ faith and love (verse 6). Faith and love are the two most necessary and important things in our lives. If we had to describe the Christian life in just two words, we could do it by choosing the words faith and love (see Galatians 5:6 and comment).

8 For now we really live. On the one hand, Paul said: For to me, to live is Christ (Philippians 1:21). On the other hand, Paul “lives” in his spiritual children. If they remain strong in the Lord, that will be like “life” to Paul.

9-10 Paul desired to visit the Thessalonians again in order to supply what was lacking in their faith (see Romans 1:11). These new believers needed more spiritual wisdom; they needed solid food (see Hebrews 5:13-14; 6:1). They needed to go on to maturity in Christ (Ephesians 4:12-13).

11 Paul here calls God our God and Father. Christians are entitled to call God “our Father.” God is the Creator of all men, but He is not the Father of all men. He is the Father only of those who are adopted into His family through faith in Christ (Romans 8:15-16; Galatians 4:6-7).

Paul prays that God will clear the way for him to come to Thessalonica. Paul didn’t travel here and there according to his own desire and plan. Paul went only where God had “cleared the way”; he went only according to God’s guidance.

12 Paul prays that God might make the Thessalonians’ love increase. We Christians must always be increasing in spiritual qualities; we must always be growing. We cannot remain in the same condition. We must either grow or die. And as our love grows, it must grow not only for each other but also for everyone else.

13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy. To strengthen one’s heart means to strengthen one’s faith (see 1 Corinthians 1:8). Our goal is to be blameless and holy; God will not be satisfied with anything less (see Matthew 5:8,48; Ephesians 1:4 and comments). To be holy means to be “set apart” for God. This is why, in the New Testament, Christians are often called “saints,” or “holy ones.”

Angels also are called holy ones in the New Testament. When our Lord Jesus comes to earth again, the angels will be with him (Mark 8:38; 2 Thessalonians 1:7). Jesus will come to judge all men (John 5:22; 2 Timothy 4:1). Therefore, let us go on striving in Jesus’ strength to be blameless and holy, remembering this, that one day we will all have to stand before His judgment seat (Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 John 2:28)

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