6 ¶ But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you: 7 Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith: 8 For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. 9 For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; 10 Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?
Notice how Paul is pleased with news of the Thessalonians continued faith and charity, which I have explained before is the love that Christians are supposed to feel for each other which is actively expressed by our ministering to each other’s needs.
Charity is not simply giving money, food, and material goods to others. It is the perfection of brotherly love.
2 Peter 1:5 ¶ And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
1Corinthians, chapter 13, is not merely about giving to the poor which is evident from this verse.
1Corinthians 13:3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Paul goes on to say that his difficulties were alleviated by the knowledge that the Thessalonians were continuing in their faith. His statement reflects that he can go on because they are standing fast in the Lord. He wants dearly to see them again.
11 ¶ Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. 12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: 13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
Again, a chapter ends in triumph and joy. Paul’s prayer is that not only will he be permitted to visit them again but that the Thessalonians grow in their love toward each other, and not only toward each other, but to all men. Lest someone think that the ideal Christian life is one of confinement with other Christians and no love for the lost these kinds of verses overthrow that notion. The Christian only learns to love the people of the world he desires to save by loving first his fellow believers.
It is important to note here that Jesus is going to return with all His saints. You can’t return with someone who is not with you when you return. Again, a clear statement that indicates that the church will not be on this earth when Christ returns confronts the reader.
First, you see 1Thessalonians 1:10;
“And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”
The church will not face the wrath God is bringing on the world.
Then, you can see 1Thessalonians 2:19;
“19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?”
The church is in Christ’s presence at His return. And now chapter 3, verse 13;
“To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.”
Any review of how the word, “saint,” is used in the Bible will make it clear that God is referring to His people.
In the Old Testament;
Deuteronomy 33:2 And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.
And in the New;
Romans 1:7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.