2Th 1:3-4 “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:”
Paul begins this third verse with a declaration of obligation. Why should we be indebted to thank God for faithful brethren? Hopefully, like Paul, we pray for His church continually. When we see those prayers being answered, then we owe a debt of thanksgiving. Taking time to thank God for answering prayer is binding upon us if we are to be faithful to Him.
This is not an onerous task. The Greek word rendered as “meet” means “deserving, comparable, or suitable (see Strong’s).” We should always (without ceasing) thank God as we see His people blessed to grow in faith. This is a suitable reaction and one that is in harmony with what our hearts should feel when we see God working in His church. One of the definitions that Strong’s gives for the word rendered “faith” is “especially reliance upon Christ for salvation.”
As we grow in our reliance upon Christ for our salvation, both in the eternal sense and in recognition of His daily care for us, we grow in our ability to be charitable toward each other. This puts our ability to show one another godly love (charity) in direct proportion to our faith in Jesus. When we do not have an unfeigned love for each other (1Pe 1:22), we are not relying on Jesus in our daily walk or giving Him the glory He is due for our salvation. When we are blessed to recognize our common salvation, we must also see that we are all sinners saved by grace: we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23).
It is good for us to glory (rejoice) in faithful brethren in the churches of God. There is joy and encouragement when we hear of the faith and charity of Jesus Christ growing in His people. We need to share the stories of faith (cheerful endurance) and patience (reliance on Christ for salvation) we have witnessed in God’s people. Doing so honors God and encourages others who are facing persecution and tribulation.
Growing abundantly in faith and abounding in charity are indications of something, as is patience and faith in our persecutions and tribulations. This is an indication (token) of the righteous judgment of God.How glorious it is when He deems us worthy of His blessed kingdom here! The brethren at Thessalonica, like the disciples in Jerusalem, were suffering for the cause of Christ and were thankful for it. Their spiritual growth was God’s token to them and others that they were living lives that were pleasing to Him.
May God bless us today to grow in faith, abound in charity, and endure cheerfully our tribulations for the sake of His holy kingdom!