Tuesday, May 27, 2014

1Thessalonians 3:1-5 comments: staying on track

1 ¶  Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; 2  And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: 3  That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. 4  For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. 5  For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.

Paul sent Timothy, to whom the two pastoral letters were written, to Thessalonica to assist them and help firm up their faith. He doesn’t want the Thessalonians to worry about him and the trials he is suffering for the faith. Paul had told them that he was going to suffer tribulation and it happened. In fact, Paul has told Timothy;

2Timothy 3:12  Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

 Paul wanted to make sure that the Thessalonian church was still on course, still faithful, and still holding on to the faith.

Besides slipping back into paganism due to the pressure from the surrounding culture, their government, and their families there was also the danger of Jews coming in and trying to put them  under the Law given to Moses for the Hebrews, a warning that Paul gave to the Galatians, as he told them that being circumcised in Jewish fashion was not and could not be a prerequisite for being saved as there are no outward actions that put you in Christ.

Galatians 5:2  Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.3  For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

This is why the word, sacrament, is not found in our Bible. Salvation is predicated upon belief, faith, and trust in Christ only. No baptism, sprinkling, and no ritual act like circumcision saves you.

Romans 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

You can imagine today that Paul might send Timothy to Thessalonica to make sure they hadn’t started believing they had to be baptized to be saved, attend church whenever the doors were open to be saved, street preach to be saved, wear the right clothes, have the right haircut, or observe the correct memorized prayers to be saved. Paul was concerned about his converts straying from the faith. It is so like us to lean toward works as works can be so satisfying and such a powerful method of control. But, as Paul told the Galatians;

Galatians 3:3  Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

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