Faith Completes Its Work Pt II

Exegetical Study: 

1 Thessalonians 2:17 – 3:13 reveals Paul's address to the Thessalonians. Prior to Paul's address, the city officials evicted Paul and Silas from Thessalonica, due to their proclamation of Jesus being the Messiah. Paul now narrates their desire to return to Thessalonica. However, they endure Satan’s afflictions and are unable to return to Thessalonica. Despite these hardships, he addresses his continual concern for the church. For he, truly desires to visit in order to preserve their faith. In Thess 3:5, Paul identifies his fear that the tempter might tempt them beyond their faith. The outcome of their lack of faith would render Paul's and Silas' labor in proclaiming the gospel in vain. However, after sending Timothy to them and Timothy reporting about their faith, Paul receives comfort. His comfort occurs despite all of their distress and affliction. Paul discloses this portion of the narrative with thanksgiving, joy, and prayer in regard to their faith. His closing statements represent relief from his previous concerns about them.

 

One may conclude that Paul's concern for the spiritual well-being of the Thessalonians parallels to God’s desire for humankind to possess faith that places them in the presence of the Lord at his coming. Paul’s actions provide a roadmap for Christians and their interactions with one another. As verse 12 in chapter 3 indicates, these actions are prompted by love. In love, Christians possess the call to ensure the spiritual well-being of one another. This safeguard occurs by strengthening, encouraging, revealing the tactics of Satan’s schemes, blocking Satan’s schemes, praying, and rejoicing over one another. Contrary to these actions are the actions of Satan. He too understands the value of Christians’ faith and set before them afflictions to deter their faith. However, his tactics can be thwarted. The Thessalonians remaining faithful, despite Paul’s absence, reveals God’s power to sustain those who believe in him. Verse 13 indicates that as God sustains or directs Christians, their hearts can be established without blame in holiness before God at the coming of Christ. Therefore, what an incredible promise bestowed upon believers, when they imitate the example of Paul in strengthening and encouraging others' faith.