“We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other…“
Now we turn to the commendation section of 2nd Thessalonians (1:3-12). If Paul could find a reason to thank God for a local church, he always did. He even brought himself to thank God for the carnal Corinthian church. He could not bring himself to thank God for the Galatians, however, because they defected from the principle of the finished work of Christ.
We are bound to thank God
The word “bound” means to owe. This is a word of debt or obligation. Paul owes God a debt of thanks for the Thessalonians. He views thanks as a duty because he prayed that the Thessalonians might “increase and abound in love.” God heard his prayers, so he owes God his thanks. This is the subjective side of thanksgiving to God. Paul’s team sensed a principled obligation to give thanks.
Paul and his team carried a constant sense of thanksgiving to God for the Thessalonians. He found many occasions whereby he could thank God for them.
for you, brethren,
Paul was grateful, not just in some general fashion, but for two very specific things about the Thessalonians: 1) their increasing faith toward God and 2) their expanding love for fellow Christians. In the next verse, he boasts to other churches about other dynamics in the Thessalonian church.
Churches have reputations just like individual Christians.
Every church has a name, just as every Christian has a name. Each church has a testimony. Some churches have little reputation in the non-Christian community. Some have little reputation with the Christian community. What kind of testimony does your church have?
Thanksgiving relates to our capacity of soul. The greater our appreciation for what God is doing in those to whom we minister, the more it is fitting or appropriate to give God thanks. We cannot gain God’s approval so that He will do something through us. We acknowledge that what He does, He does through His grace. A thankful heart just responds to God’s grace. God is not impressed with who we are or what we do. He is impressed with who Jesus is and what He did. A sense of what God does through His grace is always the basis for our thanks.