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Digital Subscriptions > Life and Work > December 2019 > Speaking and acting

Speaking and acting

The Rev Dr Martin Fair continues his study of 1 Thessalonians and emphasises the need for words in spreading the Christian faith.

THERE is hardly space here to deal with the doctrine of election and yet verses such as ‘For we know, brothers and sisters, loved by God, that he has chosen you…’ c1v4 give rise to it. Briefly, we might say the following: It’s impossible to separate being chosen by God from being loved by God. The key point is that God does so out of grace – he loves us because he loves us and not because of any perceived merit of our own. Therefore, as we reflect on this truth that God has chosen us, it should cause us, in wonderment, to ask: ‘You love even me, Lord?’ In an age when so many struggle with a lack of sense of worth and when so many ‘alternative remedies’ focus on finding it within ourselves, it’s good to remember that, first and foremost, our worth is based on the truth that God loves us and has chosen us to be his children. The former lead to pride, the latter to humility. As we saw in the first of these studies, the apostle Paul was single-minded in his commitment to sharing the good news of Christ. That required that he spoke. In these days we seem to have convinced ourselves that speaking of what we believe is to be abandoned in favour of communicating it by our actions. And yes, Paul does say, ‘you know how we lived among you…’ c1v5. But our actions aren’t supposed to be instead of our words! Why not both? People love to quote the words of St Francis saying, ‘Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary use words.’

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