1 Thessalonians 3:12, 13
And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:…
He has just prayed for himself, but whether he is to come to them or not, he has a prayer for their spiritual benefit.
I. CONSIDER THE PERSON TO WHOM THE PRAYER IS ADDRESSED, "But you may the Lord enlarge." It is the Lord Jesus, who, "as the Purchaser of the Church with his own blood," has received the fullness of the Spirit for the benefit of his people. It was to the Lord the apostles addressed the unanimous prayer, "Increase our faith."
II. THE BLESSING PRAYED FOR. "But you may the Lord enlarge and make to abound in love toward one another, and toward all."
1. The existence of their love is frankly admitted. He had spoken of "their labor of love." He prays now for its increase.
2. Their love was to be an abounding love.
(1) There were defects in their love, as there were defects in their faith, to be supplied from the inexhaustible Source of all love.
(2) The objects of their love were
(a) "one another," those of the household of faith, who were to have the first place in their affections;
(b) but "all men" likewise, as children of a common Father, for as we have opportunity we must do good unto all men (Galatians 6:10), the world itself being the field of our missionary labors. The Apostle Peter adds "love" to "brotherly kindness" in the chain of Christian graces, as if to imply that brotherly kindness might become a narrow, sectarian thing, and therefore the love of man as man is enjoined.
III. THE DESIGN AND TENDENCY OF THIS PROGRESSIVE INCREASE. "To the end that he may stablish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints."
1. This implies that establishment in holiness is necessarily involved in the enlargement of both faith and love.
2. It implies that stability in holiness is the great end of Christian life in a world which shakes believers by fears and temptations and delusions.
3. It implies that without perfect holiness we cannot appear without blame before God.
4. It implies that perfect holiness is reserved for the second coming.
(1) It is not attainable in this life. We are not here "without spot or wrinkle."
(2) It is connected with the redemption of the body.
(3) It is connected with the final glorification of the redeemed; for all the saints are to be associated with the Judge as assessors in the final judgment (Luke 22:30; John 5:28; 1 Corinthians 6:3). Therefore let us pray for the increase of faith and love, and live in the blessed hope of the "day of Christ." - T.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: