As we continue looking at the church in Thessalonica over the next several weeks at Legacy as a “model to all the believers” let’s keep Paul’s thanksgiving in 1 Thessalonians 1 as the background music. Paul is grateful to God for the Christians’ “work produced by faith, labor prompted by love, and endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Faith, hope, and love.
This triad of Christian virtues is mentioned again towards the end of the letter as armor to be worn by the believers in a continual state of readiness for Christ’s return. But it’s not just Paul who puts so much emphasis on faith, hope, and love as foundational and fundamental to our Christian walk. While he sprinkles most of his letters with this language, you can also find Peter writing about our faith and hope in God in the same sentence with our sincere love for our brothers. The writer of Hebrews carries the theme by reminding us of the full assurance of faith, the hope we profess, and the love we have for each other.
The dozen or so New Testament references to faith, hope, and love cannot be ignored. In fact, they should be highlighted just as they were intended by the inspired writers. They serve as a kind of shorthand summary of the essentials of Christianity and what it means to be a Christian: faith as the assurance that God has acted in Christ to save his people, love as the expression and experience of the restored relationship between God and his people and his people with each other, and hope as the confidence that our Lord will bring his work to completion and the future holds not “wrath but…salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (5:9) Notice, too, that the Bible never thanks people for their hope or faith or love. The Bible always thanks God for those things recognized in people. All three of these virtues and active proofs of God’s grace are gifts from our Father. They don’t come from anywhere else.
Even if you already have, and especially if you haven’t yet, read all five chapters of 1 Thessalonians sometime between now and Sunday. And may our God bless us as we strive to imitate our spiritual ancestors in Thessalonica.
Two weeks from tonight, 14 more days, the real football season begins with games that really count. And today’s all-time #14 is legendary quarterback and pioneer of the game Y. A. Tittle. He was born in Marshall, Texas and played his college ball at LSU. And when he went to the Baltimore Colts in 1948 he was named NFL Rookie of the Year. Three years later the team disbanded and so Tittle went to San Francisco where he quarterbacked the 49ers for ten seasons. But it was with the New York Giants, in the nation’s largest market at the time when pro football was really beginning to catch on, where Tittle made his name and his legend. In just four seasons, from 1961-64, he led the Giants to three division titles while winning NFL MVP honors twice and appearing in the Pro Bowl four times. He passed for over 300 yards 13 times in those four seasons, throwing for 33 touchdowns in 1962 and 36 more in ’63. When he finished his career, Tittle had thrown for more than 33,000 yards and 242 TDs.
Dan Fouts, by virtue of his amazing numbers and his leadership role with Air Coryell’s revolutionary offense in San Diego, deserves honorable mention. But Hall of Famer and football pioneer Y. A. Tittle gets the nod as the best to ever wear #14.