Signs of Christian Growth
“We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.” 2 Thessalonians 1:3
In the 1st century Thessalonica was a bustling seaport city and the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia. Paul and his colleagues brought the good news about Jesus to the Thessalonians and many people were saved. A church began and so did severe persecution against the believers. Paul had to leave Thessalonica because of the persecution, and soon after he wrote two letters to encourage the believers there. That’s the context of the verse above.
Paul was thankful that the church was doing well despite persecution, and he cites two important signs of Christian growth that are clearly evident among the believers in Thessalonica. First, he notes that their “faith was growing more and more.” Their faith began when they heard the gospel—”for it was by grace they were saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8)—and it had been growing ever since. Faith reveals itself by action and their actions showed more and more their devotion to God and their trust in Him. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6) or to maintain your walk with Him.
The second sign of Christian growth noted by Paul was that the “love they had for one another was increasing.” Jesus said our love for one another is at the heart of our Christian testimony: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35). Genuine love reveals itself in service and in putting the needs of others ahead of our own. Love is the highest Christian virtue and binds all the others together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:4)
Increasing love and growing faith please God and lead to Christian maturity and an effective witness.
Are these signs of Christian growth evident in your life?
Having begun as a guest speaker in 2005, Dan was appointed Interim Pastor in 2008 and has been serving Maple Root Baptist ever since. As a small group leader and Chaplin for the Connecticut Tigers, Dan has a heart for the lost and the God that saves them.