1 Thessalonians 1:2-4
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;…
I. IS EXPANSIVE IN ITS CHARACTER. It is our duty to be grateful for personal benefits, but it displays a nobler generosity to be thankful for the good of others. Paul thanked God —
1. Because of their work of faith.
(1) Faith itself is a work; it is the laying hold of Christ for salvation. In its exercise man meets with opposition, and it becomes a fight.
(2) It is the cause of work — the propelling and sustaining motive in all Christian toil. "Faith without works is dead."
2. Because of their labour of love. Labour tests the strength of love. We show our love to Christ by what we do for Him. Love makes even drudgery an enjoyment. It leads us to attempt what we would once have shrunk from in dismay.
3. Because of their patient hope. It was severely tried, but not quenched. It is hard to hope in the midst of discouragement. It was so with Joseph in prison, with David in the mountains of Judah, with the Jews in Babylon. But the grace of patience gives constancy to hope.
4. Because of their election, not as individuals, this could not he, but as a people. St. Paul here means that from what he saw of the operations of Christian grace in them he knew they were God's elect. As Bengel says, "Election is the judgment of Divine grace, exempting in Christ, from the common destruction of men, those who accept their calling by faith. Every one who is called, is elected from the first moment of his faith; and so long as he continues in his calling and faith, he continues to be elected; if at any time he loses calling and faith, he ceases to be elected." Observe the constancy of this thanksgiving spirit — "We give thanks always for you all." As they remembered without ceasing the genuine evidences of conversion so did they assiduously thank God.
II. EVOKES A SPIRIT OF PRACTICAL DEVOTION. "Making mention of you in our prayers." The interest of the successful worker in his converts is keenly aroused; he is especially anxious the work should be permanent, and resorts to prayer as the effectual means. Prayer for others benefits the suppliant. When the Church prayed, not only was Peter liberated from prison, but the faith of the members was emboldened.
III. IS RENDERED TO THE GREAT GIVER OF ALL GOOD. "We give thanks to God." God is the author of true success. In vain we labour where His blessing is withheld.
Parallel VersesKJV: We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;