“For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake“
Another basis for Paul’s thanksgiving for the Thessalonians is how the gospel came to them in supernatural power. Their ready reception of God’s message shows the reality of God in their midst.
The word “for” means because. Paul now expresses the basis for his assurance of the salvation of the Thessalonians.
The word “gospel” is emphatic in Greek. It is the message itself and not the act of preaching that changes lives. The word “gospel” means good news. It is the good news of eternal salvation.
The first token of the election of the Thessalonians is not in the way the Thessalonians received the gospel but in the mode the evangelists presented it. God’s election of them was sovereign, not arbitrary. God uses human agents to impart His gospel. God uses a special sort of courier to communicate His message – those who exercise His power. These communicators come with certain qualifications presented later in this verse.
The power of our message is in the message, not the messenger.
The nature of the gospel is one of the greatest treasures God ever gave His creatures. It is a gospel of unadulterated grace (Acts 20:24). God did everything necessary so that we can live with Him in eternity. The Devil specializes in starting his own religions. All religions carry the same message: “Man is good; man must lift himself by his own bootstraps; he must improve himself; he should find himself; he should choose any religion for they all lead to Heaven.”
Religions impart noble ideas that appeal to something within man, but they are fatal when it comes to a relationship with God. Only the gospel can establish an eternal relationship with God. A pluralistic society tunes this out because it is foreign to their ears. That is the very hurdle each person must reach if they want eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).