1 Thes. 1:1-5 (ESV)
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace.  We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers,  remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.  For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,  because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.
“For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” Notice the confidence! In today’s climate it is often considered arrogant to even consider yourself saved. I have actually run into people who don’t know if they believe or not. Really they believe, but they don’t understand why they are still plagued by sin. They have been taught that if they believe strong enough things turn around in their lives. Some churches go so far as to teach that you can’t even know if you believe or not. If there was justice in the world those pastors would be locked up at a minimum. It is considered absolutely ludicrous to think that you can know if another person believes. Well maybe I can’t see into their heart, but do I have any reason to question their confession of faith? Do I? Even admonishing a person for a gross and manifest sin, doesn’t give me evidence that they lack faith. So what, You mean they are a sinner like me? And aside from the fact that I can’t look into their heart, I can confidently claim with Paul that God has chosen them. And not just because I see them doing odd chores around the church. I know, because I know Christ died for them. Christ died for the world in general, and you specifically. Yes you, the one on the other end of this computer screen. Jesus forgives your sins. And I really don’t care if you believe it. It is true regardless. It would just be nice if you recognized it.
Paul goes on, saying that “our Gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” Of course the Gospel never comes only in word. It always comes in power and in the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, it does not always work faith in the one who hears. Sometimes it only serves to harden an already hard heart. But there is no reason to question a person who says they believe. Sure admonish them with the law if you see them sinning. Sin is not healthy. But don’t question whether they believe or not. If they say they believe leave it at that. Point them to the cross and release them from their sin. Forgive them. The Thessalonians, Paul writes to, believed. The heard the gospel and came to faith. Their confession was enough evidence for Paul. But then they were tested. They became imitators of Paul. That is for tomorrows post.