1 Thessalonians 3:9–13
For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith? Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
Now Paul had spent nearly only a month in Thessalonica before the unbelieving Jews there drove him from their town by the hands of the pagan citizens there. He spent three Sabbath in the synagogue trying to convince them Jesus was the Christ. At least one member of the Church there continued with Paul on his journey, helping him and no doubt learning more. A congregation of believing Jews was started there but a month of instruction is not a lot. But they were Jews who had been instructed in the Law so they could work a lot out on their own guided by the Holy Spirit.
But Paul wanted to go back to supply what was lacking in their faith. Faith in this sense would be the details of Christ’s life perhaps, or more so how Jesus had fulfilled the Law, or maybe what they should be doing now as Christians. But is it most likely to have them add more knowledge and understanding to what he had already taught them. Indeed, what Christian of 50 or 60 years doesn’t still learn more from the scriptures by those trained in them and even those trained in the scriptures by those who have been in the faith longer than them?
Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians reveals God’s will for you as well. What does Paul pray for? That you would increase and abound in love for one another and for all. Who could not be more less selfish? Who couldn’t be more sacrificial towards our fellow Christians? Who couldn’t be more sacrificial towards all people? And in the acts of love toward fellow Christians and others not have their hearts warmed towards them as well?
With the Lord Jesus Christ increasing love in us toward others he also established our hearts blameless and holy before God our Father. This is Christ’s work in us throughout our life. As Paul notes in 2 Corinthians we are being renewed daily as the old man waste away daily. If you try to quantify it you will probably end up in despair. It is better to focus on the fact it is Jesus who establishes your hearts blameless holy as Jude also says, Jud 1:24 “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory …” This good news is what conforms your hearts and minds to God’s will for you.
Heavenly Father, grant us your Holy Spirit, that we may learn more concerning the faith, that our love towards others may increase and that your Son Jesus may present us before your throne with pure and blameless hearts on the day of his revelation. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.