“ESTABLISH YOUR HEARTS BLAMELESS IN HOLINESS”
The last 2 verses of today’s 3rd chapter in 1st Thessalonians is specially thought provoking. “… 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 …” Read that again slowly! Can you imagine your heart being “blameless in holiness?”
What is the process by which he will establish our hearts in this way? One thing Paul is telling us is that this establishing of our hearts is the result of the way we “increase and abound in love for one another.” Love comes, as Paul sees it, in different qualities and quantities! Paul did not know when the Lord would return, just as we do not, but the expectation has grown increasingly high in recent years. We take note also that the establishing of our hearts “blameless in holiness” is “before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord…” It is what the Lord is looking to see at this wondrous time!
At the beginning of his Epistle Paul commends them for their “work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope” [1.v.3] But note what we read in ch. 3 today! After being encouraged by “the good news” of their “faith and love” that Timothy [v.6] brought to him, Paul writes, “we pray earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face” – and there is a particular reason for this earnest prayer! It is so that he could then “supply what is lacking in your faith” [v.19]
From what we had previously read we would have thought they had demonstrated a really good faith! Let us remember the emphasis in James’ epistle on this vital quality believers must possess. “You know,” James writes, “that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” [ch. 1 v.3,4]
It seems that what was “lacking” in their faith was some testing! They had done works of faith, but Paul knew it needed testing to make sure it would remain “steadfast” – a vital factor in establishing our “hearts blameless in holiness before our God” A vital lesson for us today! A faith testing time is coming on this world – there is no doubt about that – but is your heart established blameless and strong ready for that time of testing? We need to do a lot of heart searching: remember and reflect on our thoughts yesterday.