We often talk about the Bible as the Word of God. But do we treat it that way? As words that truly come from God and are to be obeyed? Or as words from men, to be followed if we like them, but can be discarded if we don’t?
The Thessalonians had made their choice, and we see it in verse 13. Paul tells them,
And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe. (13)
God works in our hearts as we hear his Word and receive it into our hearts. The question is, do we receive it?
Some words are easy to receive. Words about God’s love and grace. But other words are not so easy. Words about holiness. Words about our accountability to him.
Of course, the most important words we need to receive are the words of the gospel. That we can be saved only through faith in Christ alone and his work on the cross. That we can do nothing to save ourselves, and that we need to turn to Christ for our salvation.
Those in the Thessalonian church believed right away. But others didn’t. The Jewish leaders killed Jesus and the prophets that came before him. They then compounded their evil by driving out Paul from Thessalonica and other places for preaching the gospel. And Paul said of them,
They displease God and are hostile to all men in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last. (16-17)
These Jews as well as the Thessalonian’s own countrymen treated God’s words as mere words of men. The result? They heaped up sin in their lives and God’s wrath fell on them.
How about you? How do you treat the words of God? As words from one who should be obeyed? Or as mere suggestions from flawed humans?
God will hold you accountable for the words that you have heard him speak.
So let’s take them seriously and follow them, that we might find blessing, and each day be transformed more and more into his likeness.
What is God telling you today?