The Gospel Has Power Pt II

Exegetical Study: 

Paul's opening in 1 Thess follows his traditional pattern of addressing the recipients of his letters. His opening includes a greeting, thanksgiving, and prayer report. Paul, remembering the Thessalonians in prayer, attributes the effects of the gospel in the Thessalonians' lives. In verse 4, Paul asserts that God made their election sure or chose them. In verse 10, Paul climaxes by noting that Christ rescued them all from the coming wrath. In both cases, these actions represent the power of God and Christ through the divine workings of the gospel. The Thessalonians responded accordingly to the gospel. In verse 6, Paul contends that the Thessalonians received the gospel in much tribulation with joy in the Holy Spirit. They, in turn, possess a faith that labors in love and hopes in Christ. This faith prompts them to be an example which should be imitated as they go out to proclaim the gospel and their faith to those in Macedonia and Achaia. Not only do the Thessalonians respond in faith to the gospel, but they turn to God and away from idols. In turning to God, they also serve him or subject themselves to him as a slave. In this state, the Thessalonians no longer live by the power of themselves, but the power that comes from the Gospel.

 

In 1 Thess, Paul emphasizes the power of the gospel and its long-lasting effects on the lives of the Thessalonians. This truth made explicit by Paul provides merit for today's Christians. The message of the Jesus Christ and the cross possess the power to those who hear it. The gospel summons people to faith. It summons believers to live. Therefore, those who hear the message have the calling to possess faith and to live a life in Christ. This life is exemplified by turning to God and demonstrating one's faith by serving God and proclaiming the message. These actions demonstrate Christians' response to the gospel. The gospel also attributes benefits to believers. These benefits include being chosen by God and rescued from the coming wrath. Paul correctly identifies the power of the gospel. In this power, today's Christians receive the fullness of the divine workings in their lives.