“…because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.” – 1 Thessalonians 1:5
The gospel is characterized by power. Whether miraculous power, or power in preaching, it brings the explosive might of heaven to bear on the heart of man. This power, like dynamite, changes that which surrounds it. It crumbles our hardness of heart at the realization of our guiltiness and sin and ignites in us a love for the One who reconciles us to the Father.
Paul and his fellow missionaries didn’t merely write about what it must be like to be changed by this gospel of power. No, quite the contrary! There is an intense ownership occurring here as he writes it was ‘because [of] our gospel.’ For them, it was not a vague theological term detached from reality and void of meaning. It was their ‘good news’, their gospel. So, too, can it and should be ours! Not that we are its creators or originators, but we do serve as its mouthpiece when we are changed by the ‘renewing of our minds’ (Romans 12:1-2), and ‘the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit’ (Titus 3:5). This gospel changed these men to the core, making a former enemy of God and persecutor like Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9) into his friend and herald.
What kind of men and women will we prove to be among those with whom we find ourselves?