Monday, July 13, 2020

Thessalonians Words ~ Day 8: Love

Day 8: Love

Love flows throughout both of Paul's letter to the Thessalonians. Whether he speaks of God's love for them as His children, Paul and the disciples love for them, or their love for others, it is a constant thread in these letters.

We first come upon the word love in verse 3 of chapter 1 in the first letter, where it is combined with faith and hope. Faith, hope and love are often called the three most eminent Christian virtues. All three are evidence of one's salvation in Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit in their life. Ten times these three virtues are listed together in the New testament letters: Romans 2:3-5; 1 Corinthians 13:13; Galatians 5:5-6; Colossians 1:5; I Thessalonians 1:3 and 5:8; Hebrews 6:10-12 and 10:22-24; 1 Peter 1:3-8 and 1:21-22.

Of the combination of faith and love, John Calvin said they were "the sum total of godliness". Love, as we saw with the word faith on our first day of the challenge, is a fruit of the Spirit, but also something we have a responsibility to nurture and grow. And so Paul prays that  love will continually increase and grow in the lives of the Thessalonians (1 TH 3:12; 2 TH 1:3).

In fact, love is something that Paul repeatedly commends the Thessalonians for. It would appear that, based on the comments in Paul's letters, that they are a loving community that is known far and wide for how they love each other and love those outside of their community.

  • Their love prompted their service. 1 TH 1:3
  • Paul called their love "good news", the same word used for the gospel. 1 TH 3:6
  • They were known for their brotherly love, not only in their church but to churches throughout Macedonia. 1 TH 4:9-10, 2 TH 1:3
Paul reminds the Thessalonians repeatedly that they are loved by God and that God produces love in them (1 TH 1:4; 2 TH 2:13, 16; 3:5). God is love (1 John 4:8,16). Love is God's nature. It is God's love for us that keeps our faith firm, that provides us with stability and confidence. It is God's love for us that builds the desire in us to love Him and to love others. Love is our response to His love for us.

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." 1 John 4:10

"We love because he first loved us." 1 John 4:19

God's love is sacrificial and unconditional. He does not force it on us. He does not make us earn it. It is a gift. We are called to respond. Either we yield to it and accept the gift, allowing it then to transform us. Or we don't. The choice is ours. May we embrace God's gift of love fully and allow it to transform us into Christ-followers, who like the Thessalonians, become known for our love for each other and for extending it to those in our community, by sharing our lives and the gospel.

Today we will look at how to use the Lexicon tool on the study Light site. You can find the instructions for this tool on the Bible Study Techniques page.

No comments:

Post a Comment