Saturday, 17 June 2017
…remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, 1 Thessalonians 1:3
Paul now details what is specifically included in the prayers concerning those at Thessalonica that he referred to in the previous verse. He says they are “remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope.”
These are the three tenets which he beautifully wrote about to the Corinthians – faith, hope, and love. Each of these is in the genitive, and so they, as noted by Charles Ellicott, are “almost equivalent to a very emphatic adjective.” In other words, “work of faith” would equate to “faithful activity.” In this it is a kind of work which is “characterized by faith and promoted by faith” (Ellicott). “Labor of love” would equate to “loving labor.” It is a labor worked out because of, and for the sake of, love. And “patience of hope” would equate to “hopefully patient.” It is a patience which is grounded in hope, and which is continuously nurtured by that same hope.
Each of these traits is in those at Thessalonica, as Paul says, “in our Lord Jesus Christ.” What is more appropriate is “of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In all three of these traits, Jesus is the object, not the subject. We have the hope of our Lord in our work of faith. We have hope of our Lord in our labor of love, and we have hope of our Lord in our patience of hope. Because He came, because He is with us, and because He is coming again, we have this hope, fully and completely.
Finally, he notes that our hope of the Lord Jesus Christ is “in the sight of our God and Father.” This means basically “before,” or “in the presence of.” Because of our hope in Christ, the attentive eyes of our heavenly Father are upon us. He is pleased to have a relationship with us once again because of the merits of Christ. He is our Redeemer and Mediator, and so in Him and through Him, we are brought into the very presence of God.
Life application: Paul’s words of this verse show us that our works are to be works of faith in order to be pleasing to God. Any work not done in faith will not be credited to our account of heavenly rewards. Every work, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, will be credited to us if it is done in faith. In all ways, and at all times, our walk with the Lord comes down to faith. We are saved by faith, we are justified by faith, and our works are credited to our account when done in faith.
Lord God, help us to be people of faith. Despite what the religions of the world say, including many supposed Christian groups, our standing of righteousness before You is one of faith alone – apart from any works of righteousness. And our works will only be credited for rewards if they are works of faith. Your word tell us that faith, and faith alone, is what makes us pleasing in Your sight. And so Lord, grant us faith – even as small as a mustard seed – and we will go forth with that! Great are You, O God. Amen.