Monday, December 1, 2008

1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:*11-13 (Love)

Paul continues his letter to the Thessalonian church by describing his desire to return to them, and Timothy’s subsequent trip and report. We see Paul’s deep love for the church in this passage, as well as more and more of the incredible love that this church itself possessed.

This makes Paul’s prayer concluding this section of the letter all the more incredible… he prays that the love of the church would increase. They already had this as a strength. Would we not rather pray today for some of our weaknesses to be improved? Paul doesn’t just pray for an increase; he asks that God cause their love to “abound,” to overflow. And not just love among the believers in the church, but for all people.

“…so that [God] may establish your hearts without blame in holiness.” The love Paul requests is what is needed in the lives of believers. The way this is worded here, it is not Sanctification. This is establishment. Our holiness is tied into our love. “Love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:10)

The church has a few problems with this today. There is not a lot of Agape in the body. For all our talk and teaching about God’s love, we do not understand it. We apply it even less. Within the body…sometimes; unless there are failings, factions, theological differences, or political infighting. Outwardly and to the world… not so much. Some sinners are more appealing, acceptable or deserving perhaps. It’s the ones that are too different from us that we struggle with.

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