Remember God’s Word is everlasting

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“We also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). As a boy growing up in Aotearoa New Zealand, I remember being sick, stuck at home. At the end of an agonisingly long week in bed, my dad came home excitedly bearing a beautifully wrapped gift to cheer me up. With eager anticipation he watched as I unwrapped a brand new, recently released New English Bible. 

I treasure that memory and think of it regularly—a snapshot in my mind of my father’s delight; the recollection of carefully turning fresh, crisp pages of Scripture; of discovering the power of God’s Word anew through a contemporary translation.

The apostle Paul gifted the recipients of his letters with memories that were always encouraging and sometimes confronting. 1 Thessalonians 1 and 2 is one example. Paul reminds the church of when he proclaimed God’s Word, of when they received God’s Word, and praises God for the transforming truth of God’s Word in their lives. Over three consecutive Sabbaths Paul and Silas had proclaimed the good news of Jesus to the people of Thessalonica. He reminded the church how they had explained and proved that Jesus, the Messiah, had to suffer, be crucified and rise from the dead. They had opened up familiar Scriptures with a renewed understanding by pointing to the reality of who Jesus is, and what He had done.

Though many rejected God’s Word and persecuted them, Paul focuses on highlighting that those of this Grecian city who readily received Paul’s gospel proclamation, reflected the transforming power of God’s Word for all levels of people. Some of those who joined Paul and Silas had Greek origins. Both women and men were converted and welcomed. People from the ordinary walks of life to the aristocracy joined the burgeoning Christian movement. Paul’s reminder to the Thessalonians is a memory jog for us today. God’s Word is at work in us who believe. May we regularly receive the proclamation of God’s Word as it is preached and practiced; knowing we may suffer for our faith. Yet, remembering that God is faithful, His Word is everlasting and by Spirit He continues to do a good work in each of us today.

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