Gospel Transformation (1 Thess 1:1-5)
The preaching of the Gospel always transforms! In Thessalonica the Gospel transformed people in the following ways;
- The Gospel formed relationships that had previously not existed. New relationships both within the church and also between those in the church and Paul’s apostolic team. Paul could write how they would regularly pray giving thanks to God for the Thessalonian believers and for what happened in the lives of those who believed there. (vs2) They had previously not known each other, but now they were joined at a heart level.
- The Gospel resulted in inner-life transformation in the believers of Thessalonica. Having believed the Gospel, they were described as those having faith, love & hope despite harsh opposition in their city. (vs3) They were described as having faith, hope & love. This triad (faith, hope, love) is used regularly in the New Testament to describe what the believer’s life becomes characterised by as a result of the Gospel’s transformative effect.
- The Gospel produced tangible external transformation. Note how each of the three Gospel characteristics is paired with a practical observable outworking in their lives;
- Faith results in work (action/deeds)
- Love results in labour (toil/trouble/pains)
- Hope results in steadfastness (cheerful endurance)
True faith in God is evidenced by actions that show that faith to be real.
True love received from God through the Gospel results in real committed love for others that’s robust.
True hope in Christ fortifies us in the midst of present trials and suffering enabling cheerful endurance.
When we believe the good news about Jesus, that truth doesn’t leave our lives unchanged but transforms our relationships, our experience, our thinking and our actions in very observable ways.