Evidence of godliness
But now Timothy has just returned, bringing us good news about your faith and love. He reports that you always remember our visit with joy and that you want to see us as much as we want to see you. So we have been greatly encouraged in the midst of our troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives us new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 3:6-8 NLT
Paul was very much concerned for Christians in Thessalonica on how they have been dealing with trials and difficulties. When Timothy reported to Paul that the believers are staying strong in their faith, he was greatly encouraged. They have not forsaken the gospel and remained steadfast in their faith. They have been established in their faith because of their continued study of God’s word. “Stand firm and keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you both in person and by letter” (2 Thessalonians 2:15). They live their lives being obedient to God’s word. Their obedience was proven when they had shown godliness which was manifested through their faith and love. Not only that these proved that they were growing in their faith, these Christian virtues were also a demonstration of how they appropriated the gospel’s message in their lives. Faith as a result of placing one’s trust in God and belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will not be destroyed by difficulties, but will prove its genuineness. “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world” (1 Peter 1:7). When gold is passed through the fire, impurities and ores are removed. Same with faith, when tested with afflictions, unbelief will be removed. These Christians in Thessalonica were not also affected by the false reports that have been going around concerning Paul. Instead, they treasured the memory of the visit Paul made when he was still able to do so. This report from Timothy provided encouragement to Paul. Fellowship of believers can become an encouragement especially in times of difficulties. Because of this, there will be a mutual longing to have an opportunity to see each other.