Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 1:4-10
Paul is continuing to give thanks to God for these believers. He begins that praise in v2. In the statement of Divine sovereign election to salvation Paul makes in v4, there is an important aspect of the praise of God in the Christian life. Christian joy and praise in large measure is the expression of thanks to God for His saving mercy and the works of His grace.
In v3 he references general evidences of grace in their lives that prompt him to praise God.
- Work of faith, v3. Faith to be thankful for is active/‘energetic’. Cp James 2:14-20. Paul gives prominence to the faith that originates in God here. See 2Pet 1:5-11.
- Labour of love, v3. The activity becomes more intensive. Labour > ‘to toil’. The ideas of beating and grief are here. Sorrowful, excruciating labour is in view. To have this associated with the expression of Christian love is striking indeed. To express Christian love often involves such difficulty and self-denial. Cp Eph 5:25, 1Cor 13:4, 7. Even against such a backdrop, true Christian love show itself. See Heb 6:9-10.
- Patience of hope, v3. The spirit of endurance marked their endeavours. Here is a key evidence of true conversion to Christ, Matt 13:20-21, Heb 10:38-39. It was fuelled by confidence in Christ. Cp Heb 6:18-20.
- In the sight of God…, v3. An awareness of Divine oversight. The wicked are marked by an absence of any fear of God, Ps 10:4. Divine grace produces and instills such an awareness. Paul gives thanks in the sight of God; they had labored in the sight of God. Cp Heb 6:10.