Faith, love, and hope
We are writing to the church in Thessalonica, to you who belong to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. May God give you grace and peace. We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly. As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ. We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people. 1 Thessalonians 1:1-4 NLT
Paul’s greeting to the believers at Thessalonica is brief yet profound. In it, he acknowledges the significant implication of a person’s decision to surrender his or her life to Christ. Not only that they were brought out from darkness into marvelous light, they also “belong to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” They are firmly rooted for they have fellowship with God the Father through God the Son. This is also what John wrote about; “Anyone who denies the Son doesn’t have the Father, either. But anyone who acknowledges the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:23). The result of their deep spiritual foundation because of their relationship with God is shown in their faith, love, and hope. It is by faith that believers look at the convicting work of God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Love is what characterizes the present experience of every believer because of the assurance that they belonged to God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Hope is what sustains them to look forward to the future because they have trusted God through Jesus Christ the Lord. As they live out the life that God gave them, the fruit of that life is seen in their “faithful work,” “loving deeds,” and “enduring hope.” This is the result of having a relationship with God. They produce the life God had preordained them to have even in the beginning of time. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10). Once again, it shows that once a person expresses faith in God, it results to action. “It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God” (Hebrews 11:4). “It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood” (Hebrews 11:7). “It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance” (Hebrews 11:8). Those whom God gives salvation manifests change. They’re not perfect but their actions prove they belong to God.