“We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,” 1 Thessalonians 1:2-4 (ESV)
As the American holiday of Thanksgiving has just past we consider that the period for giving thanks has not. In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the believers in Thessalonica he states that he, and those with him, are in the practice of giving thanks to God always; constantly including them in prayer; and remembering their spiritual commitment. Paul mentions three characteristics of their commitment. Their work which is produced by faith in Christ; their labor which was motivated by their love of Christ; and their steadfastness, which is also endurance and faithfulness⸺inspired by a sure hope of Christ. These believers and followers of Jesus Christ were anticipating the return of God’s son from heaven. Each of these virtues found its object in Jesus. Three virtues that mark every true obedient Christian⸺faith, love, and hope. These virtues are the focus of 1 Corinthians 13, the chapter of love, but with love and hope switched in the order. One of the promises given to all believers is that God loved us and chose us for eternal life and service. Paul and friends (we know) were certain of this truth. We can be certain also if we have believed in Jesus.