We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:3 (NIV)
This is a beautiful description of how the gospel brought transformation in the lives of the Thessalonian believers. The faith which united them to Christ produced a different kind of life in which they ventured in faith, labored with love, and persevered, continued, and endured because of their hope in Jesus Christ.
This is the point of Philippians 2: “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit….” In other words, “If you really are in Christ, if the Holy Spirit lives in you, here’s how that will be seen: ‘each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus… who took the nature of a servant’” (2:4-5, 7).
In his book The Freedom of a Christian, Martin Luther makes the same point this way: “Each one should become as it were a Christ to the other… that we may be truly Christians… Surely we are named after Christ, not because He is absent from us, but because He dwells in us, that is because we believe in Him and are Christs—one to another—and do to our neighbors as Christ has done to us.”
Jesus says to us: “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34). “Forgive each other just as in Christ God forgave you” (Eph. 4:32). “As the Father sent me, so I am sending you” (John 20:21). The faith that unites us to Christ shows itself in serving.
Where is your faith showing itself?