Thursday, April 9, 2009

lacking in faith?

1 Thes. 3:6-10 (ESV)
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. [8] For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. [9] For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, [10] as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?
Supply what is lacking in your faith? One wonders what that is. I suppose if I was Pentecostal I might think it was the lack of tongues speaking. I’m not Pentecostal. I might think it was baptism of the holy spirit or something If I was Baptist. But it seems to me that it wasn’t that their faith was weak. As the Thessalonians have a faith that has withstood afflictions that would put most American Christians to shame. They have faith. They have strong faith. It seems to me though that Paul might not have been done teaching them the faith. That is he wasn’t done giving them the doctrinal content that would solidify them even more. Maybe that reflects a Lutheran bias. So be it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


This is my $0.02 on it. And this admittedly comes in part from my own experiences so… I think you make a good point, whether you specifically meant to or not, by using Pentecostal and Baptist as the “normal read” on this. For me the Baptist rings accurate but both have this in common these three things; namely one that it is something individualistic you have to (second) drum up yourself somehow ultimately from (three) within. That is juxtaposition to teaching doctrine coming from others or even being build up by another’s knowledge in the true doctrine. To me it’s similar to Paul’s opening in Romans 1 whereby both in the faith, including himself, are built up and strengthened by each other’s faith. Not so much by solidarity but the speaking of the true doctrine to one another.

For don’t we all long for each other’s orthodox insights into doctrines we are self didn’t before see? Perhaps its just a “new twist of words” that makes something heretofore hidden that does this (of course it HAS to be true doctrine). I could give so many personal examples of this moving from where I was doctrinally to now and continuing.

Just the other day at church our pastor was preaching through some text and pealed apart in Romans where Paul explains that the sting of death is sin. I don’t know how many times I’ve read that and pondered on it. And in some sense it’s obvious what it means, but the gravity of it or not enough sufficient connections had really hit me. But he was using an example of bees and stingers in his tool shed, and that we fear bees because of the pain of their stingers. Then he brought that back to that passage and connected it to the conscience and death…that when all is said and done every man fears death due to his/her sin, the stinger of death that causes the before the fact fear of death is ultimately the pain of the dirty conscience due to sin. Ultimately ALL men fear death due to this, the gig is up! And he said, “Jesus has removed the stinger and we, Christians have nothing to fear”. And you can connect that with baptism and the cleansing of the dirty conscience as Peter say, “this baptism saves you”. Well, for some reason that “turn of words” and “connecting the Word dots”, if you will, really opened up a passage I had hear to fore said, “Yea that’s great”, but never felt or got the weight of it until then. That was great Sunday, and I was feeling down and very despairing up until then over life and things.

Taking that to what you said, doctrine and right doctrine, that builds up our faith and, “I think, helps where our faith is lacking at times.

That’s my $0.02.