All of Christ for All of Life
Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Christ Alone

26 October 2020 – First Thessalonians 1:1-3

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. – First Thessalonians 1:1-3

John Stott writes:

What Paul and his companions especially remembered about the Thessalonians was the three most eminent Christian graces (faith, love, and hope) which characterized their lives. Apart from Galatians 5:5-6 where they are mentioned, though not in a recognizable triad, this verse is their first occurrence in Paul’s letters. He will refer to them again in varying degrees of clarity, and elaborate them in 1 Corinthians 13. They also occur in Peter’s first letter and in the letter to the Hebrews. Two aspects of these Christian qualities need to be noted.

First, each is outgoing. Faith is directed towards God, love toward others (both within the Christian fellowship and beyond it), and hope towards the future, in particular the glorious coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Similarly, faith rests on the past; love works in the present; hope looks to the future. Every Christian without exception is a believer, a lover, and a hoper (not necessarily an optimist, since ‘optimism’ is a matter of temperament, ‘hope’ of theology). Faith, hope, and love are thus sure evidences of regeneration by the Holy Spirit. Together they completely reoriented our lives as we find ourselves being drawn up towards God in faith, out towards others in love, and on towards the Parousia in hope. The new birth means little or nothing if it does not pull us out of our fallen introversion and redirect us towards God, Christ, and our fellow human beings.

Secondly, each is productive. It is this that Paul emphasizes. Faith, hope, and love sound rather abstract qualitied, but they have concrete, practical results. Faith works, love labors, and hope endures. … So comprehensive is the vision conjured up by your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and our endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ that Calvin did not exaggerate when he called it ‘a brief definition of true Christianity.’

MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 77
Q. 77. What is required in the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment requireth the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man, and of our own and our neighbor’s good name, especially in witness-bearing.