Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Faith, Hope and Love - September 12th, 2008

1 Thes.1:3 - “We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” This verse gives a powerful description of what the true Christian life is like. Paul commended the Thessalonians for their work which came from their faith. The Greek word he used for work here is ERGON which literally meant employment. The gist of what he is saying is that true faith in Christ will produce a life employment, occupation and career of serving God - he continued on this theme in 1:9 reminding them of how they turned from worthless idols to serve the living God. The point is that true faith always produces a life of obedience (Rom.1:5, 16:26). Paul continues, characterizing the result of their love for God, saying it resulted in labor for Him. The Greek word used there for labor, KOPOS, meant a striking or a beating and was used to describe painful and difficult work. This is different from the life occupation of serving God mentioned previously and had a lot more to do with specific occasions and instances of serving God. So my faith produces a life focus of serving Him and then in that context my AGAPE love for Him yields a desire to continually serve Him in every situation I find myself in (1 Cor.10:31, Col.3:17, 23), even when those opportunities are not necessarily easy (1 Cor.16:8-9). Finally, Paul encourages us that in the lifelong occupation of serving God and in the daily labor which results, even when it is often difficult, the perseverance to follow through comes from the hope that I have in Christ (Col.1:27, 1 Tim.1:1). So, my faith in Christ gives me a life purpose to serve Him; a “career” if you will, in that life occupation, my love for Him compels me to serve Him daily in every opportunity I can (2 Cor.5:14-15), and finally, in that long and often tiring race, my hope, Jesus alone, gives me the perseverance to continue. I guess that is why Paul puts such an emphasis on these three in 1 Cor.13:13.

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