Living out the gospel
We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people. For when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true. And you know of our concern for you from the way we lived when we were with you. So you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you. In this way, you imitated both us and the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 1:4-6
As Paul asserts from the text, the gospel he preached did not come “not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true” (1 Thessalonians 1:5). Unlike some teachers, Paul’s instruction went far beyond mere words. They preached a gospel that had power sufficient to accomplish its purposes. “For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile” (Romans 1:16). Paul and associates were conscious of that power when they preached in Thessalonica. They also experienced the Holy Spirit in this process of preaching. It is through the preaching of the Word that the Spirit does His work. Furthermore, they were fully convinced that they should be there in Thessalonica and preaching to them. The unfortunate experiences in Europe up to this place had not created doubts in their minds about what they were doing. Paul is convinced that it is by the convicting power of the Holy Spirit that Thessalonians’ responded to the gospel. Their response led them to live their new life in Christ (1 Thessalonians 1:6). Such life was demonstrated by how they responded in the suffering they have been going through; “you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you.” The power of salvation in the lives of believers is manifested in their willingness to endure and persevere during times of difficulties. Those called of the Lord are expected to live in a manner appropriate to their calling. God’s call to every believer should remind us of our special relationship to God and at the same time admonishes us to live in the way that this calling demands.