Monday, March 17, 2014

Does My Salvation Show?

Today  I worked through 1 Thessalonians 1 in my devotional time. That short chapter, in which Paul enumerates ways that he sees clear evidence of the Thessalonians' election, includes three verses that have always intrigued me.

For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. ~~1 Thessalonians 11:8-10 (ESV)

Apparently, the response of the Thessalonians to the Gospel was so radical and pronounced that people well beyond their city had heard about it. Although Thessalonica was (and still is) a city within Macedonia (the northern region of Greece), Macedonia is a huge region. Moreover, Achaia lies over 100 miles south of Thessalonica, just below Corinth (click here to view a map from www.bible.ca). That means that the reputation of the church in Thessalonica extended over an incredibly vast territory, even without the Internet.

Every time I think about these verses, I ask myself how many people around me can see evidence of Christ in me. Do they see a faith that goes well beyond lip-service? Do I demonstrate abandonment of worldly "values" in favor of serving the living and true God? Do people detect that I eagerly await the glorious return of Christ? I pray that my devotion to the Lord is as obvious as that of the Thessalonians.

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