DAily Devotional: 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13

Paul spends another chapter telling the Thessalonians how thankful to God he is for them. Since he could not make it to Thessalonica, he sent Timothy. He feared that Satan tempted them and rendered his own gospel work in vain, but Timothy reported the success of the gospel in their lives. Paul was worried for nothing. Though he suffers affliction, he thanks God for the Thessalonians. He prays that God will direct his path to Thessalonica soon. He prays that the Thessalonians will continue to increase  and abound in love for one another and for all people—a love that only comes from God. He prays that this love may increase and abound so that God may establish the Thessalonians without blame before the Father at the coming of Jesus with all His saints.

Paul is speaking to these First Century Thessalonians as if they will witness the coming of Jesus Christ with all His saints—as if they will witness the Day of the Lord. Paul has already shown his belief that Christ will come in judgement against Jerusalem within his generation (cf. 1:10; 2:16). Paul is praying for the Thessalonians to be blameless when Christ comes in judgment in AD 70. Otherwise, Paul has no reason to talk about the coming of Christ within his generation as if these Thessalonians will need to be made blameless by God at that moment. So, Paul does not, here, seem to be talking about Christ’s second coming, at which moment He will hand His kingdom over to the Father (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:24) but, rather, the coming of Christ in judgment against Jerusalem according to the Old Testament Prophets and Christ Himself in Matthew 24.

Notice Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians. He prays that (1) God will increase their love for one another and all people, so that (2) God may establish their hearts without blame in holiness before the Father (3) at the coming of the Lord Jesus. Did you know that love is the basis by which we are found blameless? It is not a legalistic keeping of the Law. We are not found blameless because we have done many things “for God.” We are found blameless because we love one another and all people. This is a love that only comes from God. The way we treat other people shows whether or not we are blameless before God. Paul states very clearly that it is God who increases our love for one another and all people. It’s not something we can just do because we are naturally self-interested—which too strongly sways our desires and decisions without the conviction of the Holy Spirit. When Christ comes in judgment, which is different from His second coming and something I believe to be perpetual with the worldly nations, His people who are increasing and abounding in love for other people will be found blameless and not subject to His wrath. Even though He judges the world, Christ is faithful to His people. Be encouraged.


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