“We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right because your faith is growing abundantly and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing-Therefore we ourselves boast about you….To this end we always pray for you that out God may make you worthy of His calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by His power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you and you in Him….” 2nd Thes 1:3-4a and 11-12.
Paul is very good about addressing his epistles (letters) to the reader to get the background of his concern in the proper context. In these two statements we get his analysis of the condition of the Church: He sees and hears about growth in the Believers and identifies the Holy Spirit’s intention through the Believers’ observed and testified conduct and resolve to glorify the Name of Jesus.
Finding out about the Doctrines of Justification and Sanctification was astounding to me. All of a sudden scripture that I struggled to make good, solid sense of came into focus. Here is a section that Paul is directly talking about sanctification, the pursuit of Holiness that every believer should be engaged in.
Paul identifies and communicates observed and testified growth! He hears about it. He marvels at it. He boasts about it to others. “See? Look at the Thessalonians’! See how much they have grown, not only in works but in love with each other-resolved to pursue God and good works in faith. Faith in these folks is growing abundantly! Astounding!”
This is a very good example of identifying evidences of Grace in others.
When was the last time I identified and communicated an evidence of Grace in someone else? When was the last time I so desperately wanted someone to identify that in me?
I can press in, pursue hard, put my nose to the holiness grindstone, resolve my socks off in pursuit of growth in the Word, in pursuit of knowing God, of growing in depth of faith as well has exercising that faith in good works but wind up to be haphazard in my affections because I lose heart. If this is me (and it is) how much more is this evident in others? How many have neglected Growth because our current understanding is that it isn’t important to others? How many lose heart and don’t know that losing heart is not good for our spiritual health-it doesn’t glorify God? I am stunted by it.
Father: You know this is a weakness in me. If in me, probably in a bunch of others as well. Identifying evidences of Grace is hard if you grow out of the habit of it-and I do from time to time. Answer my prayer O God. Help me not to be in despair or wanting. Help me to take a deep breath and count others more important than myself. Help me to clearly see and identify evidences of Grace in others and be quick to communicate. I want to do my part of Hebrews 3:13 to keep my brothers and sisters from the deceitfulness of sin. AMEN.