1+2 Thessalonians

Day 3: You Are Our Glory and Joy

1 Thessalonians 2:1-20, 1 Corinthians 9:3-14, Hebrews 4:12

 

The gospel is always personal.

It is given by our very own Father, from whom all good things come. It declares us to be His sons and daughters—even heirs. The gospel is secured by Christ, our own Savior, who gave His life and body for us, that we might be with Him in the eternal and heavenly kingdom. The truth and power of the gospel is sealed by the Spirit, who indwells us, binding us to Him, making us intimate friends.

It’s no wonder, then, that the gospel should also transform the nature of all human relation and interaction.

Paul fills his letter to the Thessalonians with deeply personal language, calling them brothers and sisters, “our glory and our joy” (1 Thessalonians 2:20). He reminds them of how he has been with them, gently nurturing their faith and community, sharing his own life with them—encouraging, comforting, imploring, working night and day on their behalf. He tells them, “We were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives” (v. 8). Time and again Paul repeats how he has longed to see them face to face.  

I am humbled by this great witness of the power of the gospel. I long to be able to say, with Paul, that I have labored devoutly, righteously, and blamelessly—that I have lived worthy of God, who calls us into His own kingdom and glory. But I am humbled because I can never be worthy but for the redeeming work of the cross.

Even now, I am prone to see all of my shortcomings, and fix my eyes upon them instead of on the work of Christ, instead of on the gospel. But the gospel is precisely where Paul would have us fix our eyes. There, we find transformation and healing, hope and joy, and even glory. It is a life-on-life transformation: Christ’s life in His people, ministering in the rich communion of the saints.

The Word of God, Paul writes, works effectively in those who believe its truths and receive the gospel message (1 Thessalonians 2:13). The writer of Hebrews puts it even more strongly: “For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

The gospel doesn’t merely change our minds; it reshapes our hearts and our lives in every way. It takes dying, grumbling, limping, and feeble souls, and transforms them into glory and joy, into crowns of boasting. What marvelous grace!

May our hearts be filled with thankfulness, as we run to the gospel, as we run to the Word, as we run to Christ.

Written by Caleb Faires