The last two verses of 1 Thessalonians 3 are especially thought provoking. “… may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus.” Read that again slowly! Can you imagine your heart being “blameless in holiness”?
What is the process by which hearts are established in this way? Paul tells us is that this is the result of the way we “increase and abound in love for one another”. Love comes, as Paul sees it, in different qualities and quantities! Paul did not know when the Lord would return, just as we do not, but the expectation has grown in recent years. We take note also that the establishing of our hearts “blameless in holiness” is “before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord”. It is what the Lord is looking to see at this wondrous time!
At the beginning of his Epistle Paul commends them for their “work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope” (1:3). But note in chapter 3 that after being encouraged by “the good news” of their “faith and love” that Timothy (verse 6) brought to him, Paul writes, “we pray earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face”. There is a particular reason for this earnest prayer! It is so that he could then “supply what is lacking in your faith” (verse 19).
From what we had read earlier we would have thought they had demonstrated a really good faith! Let us remember the emphasis in James’ epistle on this vital quality believers must possess. “You know”, James writes, “that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (1:3,4).
It seems that what was lacking in their faith was some testing! They had done works of faith, but Paul knew it needed testing to make sure it would remain “steadfast”, an important factor in establishing our “hearts blameless in holiness before our God”. A faith-testing time mauy be coming on this world, so is your heart established blameless and strong ready for that time of testing? We need to do a lot of heart searching.