“Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”
Timothy brought back from Thessalonica both a positive report and a negative report about the state of the church to Paul in Corinth. Some believers sold their businesses and houses because they thought that Jesus was coming almost immediately. Persecution distorted some of their thinking (1 Thessalonians 3:2-4). Some of them caused trouble in the church because they did not accept the appointed leadership that Paul established when he left (1 Thessalonians 5:15; 2 Thessalonians 3:6,7,11). The purpose of this epistle is to correct some of these misconceptions.
in God the Father
This church not only had a physical address (Thessalonica), but it had a spiritual address as well — “in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” The church and individual Christians are “in God” (Romans 8:1; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 1 John 4:15). Nothing can happen to us unless God allows it to happen.
The word “in” indicates a sphere. A Christian lives in a sphere, the sphere of God and Christ. We have life in God and Christ, therefore, we are secure in God’s providence. The term “Father” centers our thinking on God’s sovereign care of the believer.
The city of Thessalonica was a group of people who believed that Jesus gave them eternal life by His death on the cross (Acts 17:1-7). Although they believed in Him, they did not trust Him fully. They were full of anxiety about the future.
and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Jesus is equally God as the Father is God (Acts 17:3). Paul does not use the title of Savior. He uses the term “Lord” in this context because he places emphasis on His deity. “That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honors not the Son honors not the Father who has sent Him.” We live in a day when Christians use the title “God” but not the title “Jesus Christ” because “Jesus Christ” is more offensive than “God.”
People love to talk about God, but they hate Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus is God and Creator who sustains the universe (John 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:15f; Hebrews 1:1-2). By calling attention to the “Father” and deity of Jesus Christ, Paul shows that the persecution the Thessalonians endure is completely in the hand of God. Nothing can happen to them that is random. Everything is in God’s plan for the universe.
Christians are invulnerable and immortal in their physical life until God decides to promote them to glory.
Christians should not fear anything that comes their way because God manages all that happens to us. In this case, the entire church of Thessalonica was “in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
When God boxes us into His sphere like this, nothing can happen to us outside of His will. The Devil tried to get at Job (Job 1), but God put a hedge about him. Even the Devil cannot get through that hedge without God’s permission. God’s providence in our life gives us point, purpose, and protection.
Knowledge of God’s providence will keep us from a nervous breakdown. We can move through life with confidence in God’s care for us (1 John 4:4;5:4). We are invulnerable until God chooses to allow something to come into our life.