Affirmation of our faith
As a result, you have become an example to all the believers in Greece—throughout both Macedonia and Achaia. And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don’t need to tell them about it, for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the living and true God. And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment. 1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
From the text, Paul was commending the believers in Thessalonica for they “became an example to all the believers in Greece—throughout both Macedonia and Achaia” (1 Thessalonians 1:7). It was through them, through the living out of their lives, that God affected His will in Macedonia. It was for that purpose they were chosen. Not only is their perseverance during times of trials that became known to others in the neighboring community, the gospel’s message of salvation is also “ringing out...to people everywhere” (1 Thessalonians 1:8). They are fulfilling their calling by proclaiming the gospel themselves. As is often characteristic of new followers of Christ, they are enthusiastic about communicating this newfound faith to others, even if they suffer for it. That is what it means to imitate Paul, to imitate Jesus, and to be chosen by God. They are models to believers and the message they proclaim about their faith is reaching those that needs to hear the gospel. So effective is their proclamation that there are those that have “turned away from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9). Those stories of such commitment and service would be helpful indeed and will provide great encouragement to us. How they have been able to achieve so much in so little time is not clear, but because they are sincere in their faith and are fully committed to God’s call that their lives made an impact. Part of their commitment, in addition to abandoning idol worship, is the great hope they have: “looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment” (1 Thessalonians 1:10). Once we become true to our commitment in following God, serving Him alone, and having a sure hope in His coming, these attitudes and actions will affirm the sincerity of our faith.