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What was "lacking in" [their] "faith"? (1 Thessalonians 3:10)

3:10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.

1 Thessalonians 3:6 - 13

ESV - 6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you - 7 For this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith.

Clarify Share Report Asked December 12 2022 My picture Jack Gutknecht

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
In my opinion, Paul's words did not reflect a specific error or flaw in the Thessalonians' faith, but instead related to the brevity of the time that Paul had previously been able to spend with them before being compelled to depart for Berea (Acts 17:1-10). He desired to have an opportunity to instruct them more fully, especially with regard to the nature of Christ's second coming, and the state of those Christians who had died (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

December 12 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Justin Hale
All genuine Christians walk the same overall path of faith:

"Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge,and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love."

"For if these things are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the full knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:5-8).

This is a succinct yet complete description of 'faith' itself being 'perfected' during a successful Christian walk. 

Here is another one:

"And not only this, but we also boast in our afflictions, knowing that affliction brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not put to shame, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Romans 5:3-5). 

Both passages describe faith with the same goal---love. Not just any kind of love, but 'agape' love. 1 John 4:8,16 directly state that GOD Himself is 'agape' love. It is the Lord Himself that 'perfects' our faith. 

So to see it from GOD's perspective, we would need to view this list and view ourselves getting closer to 'agape' with each step:

1) 'Moral excellence,' (also called 'virtue'), is the first step, which Paul describes as the willingness to surrender each separate aspect of our 'former self' in exchange for 'those excellent things' which are to be found in Christ Jesus, (Philippians 3:8);

2) 'Knowledge,' ('gnosis'), is the next step. Each 'surrendered' aspect of our former self yields a specific response from GOD. This divine knowledge displays itself in a new form of 'self-control' we were never able to manifest before;

3) If we parallel the two passages above, we see that these first two 'steps' involve going through 'affliction' and that our patient endurance through it ultimately yields step 3, 'perseverance';

4) This builds proven character and 'hope' which the above passage also describes as something called 'godliness.' This is GOD's demonstrated 'approval' of us because He can see a distant or 'immature' version of Himself already operating inside of us;

5) Step 5 is called 'philadelphia' or 'brotherly love' [brotherly kindness]'; This love among fellow Christians grows as we each reach a new step; 

6) When the apostles saw evidence of this 'brotherly love' really building among any of the congregations, they knew that a 'face to face' meeting to 'perfect what is lacking' would be next, since the only thing left is: 

7) 'Agape' love, (1 Thessalonians 3:10). 
GOD requires a very personal encounter with a special messenger(s) for this.

If you understand and can picture this process, you can do something else very cool with this picture, since the 'fruit of the Holy Spirit' fit directly over top of this process and fill it out with even more detail. They 'grow' and also consummate with 'love.' 

Scripture does actually list them in 'reverse' order as from GOD's perspective of us, starting with 'love.' (Galatians 5:22-23). To see them from our perspective you need to start with self-control, then gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, kindness, perseverance, peace, joy and finally love. 

From this, we can see that when 'peace and joy' are finally beginning to build up in us, this parallels with the 'brotherly love' that builds up until we are fully prepared for 'agape' love to arrive. They prepare us for the arrival of GOD's full presence and the 'perfection' of our faith. Peace is actually described as the first powerful 'bond' (Ephesians 4:3), with 'agape' love being the ultimate bond that finally perfects us:

"Above all these things put on love, which is the uniting bond of perfection." (Colossians 3:14). 

If we don't achieve this in this life, it remains our shared goal in the life to come.

December 12 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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