1 Thessalonians 2:13
For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when you received the word of God which you heard of us…
I wish to point out the evidences of the faith of Christ in its effectual working; that it is the Word of God is declared by its practical working; its Divinity, its validity, its preciousness are alike evidenced by its action and consequences in the experience and life of all those who truly receive it. Its practical working shows that it is no cunningly devised fable, but the very truth and power of God. There are three grand tests.
I. IN CIRCUMSTANCES THE TEST OF TRUTH IS UTILITY. A belief is not shown to be true because it works to the profit of one man or a few men, or because it works to the profit of many men during a limited period; but a belief is shown to be true if it works to the profit of vast masses of men, in all kinds of conditions, through one generation after another. That which uniformly tends to the enrichment of society is manifestly in harmony with the law of the world. Now, I am bold to affirm that the faith of Christ will bear this test. It vindicates itself by stimulating life, enriching it, adorning it.
II. IN CHARACTER THE TEST OF TRUTH IS BEAUTY. What is false in doctrine and ideal will tell in deformity, weakness, incompleteness of character. What is true in doctrine and ideal will illustrate itself in nobility of character and life. Beauty is the splendour of truth. Here again Christianity finds attestation in the logical life. Proof that Christ brought the eternal doctrine was seen in His own personal perfection. He. who was the Truth was the Beauty. And the same splendour of character has been revealed in all generations of Christ's saints. But it is objected that these characters are not what they are in beauty by virtue of Christianity. Some sceptic said of Sister Dora, "She's a noble woman, but she'd have been that without her Christianity." But we cannot accept that. Could we accept it if a man were to say of a great golden sheaf of wheat that had brought forth a hundred-fold, "Yes, it has grown on ploughed land, it has been manured, weeded, watched, but it would have grown just the same on a prairie"?
III. IN CONSCIOUSNESS THE TEST OF TRUTH IS HAPPINESS. If a man's faith gives him joy of the very highest kind — a joy altogether pure and unselfish, a joy that is intelligent, a joy that promotes the growth of the moral nature, a joy that persists through change and sorrow — I say that in such gladness he finds one of the strongest proofs of the divinity of his creed. It is a matter of the first import that a faith makes myriads nobly happy. Now, the logic of life once more accredits the faith of Christ — it makes its disciples truly happy. (John 14:27). Those who rest in the great doctrines of Christ share the peace and joy of Christ. Just as the eye is delighted with the lustre of the sun shine, the ear with the concord of sweet sounds, the nostril with the fragrance of the flower, so the soul is delighted with the truths revealed in Jesus Christ (John 15:11).
(W. L. Watkinson.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
WEB: For this cause we also thank God without ceasing, that, when you received from us the word of the message of God, you accepted it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God, which also works in you who believe.