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(5) Comfort in Affliction (3: 7).
"Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all your affliction and distress by
your faith: for now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord" (3: 7, 8).
It would be no great or strange matter if any one should be comforted in their
affliction by the kindness, the sympathy, the succour of others, but the Apostle's comfort
was quite disinterested. It was because of their faith, and he reveals the motive behind
his intense desire to see the faces of these Thessalonian saints (I Thess. 2: 17) and why
Satan so purposely hindered (I Thess. 2: 18, see also Rom. 1: 12 `mutual faith').
Here then is a fivefold picture, intensified by contrasts, setting before us in the intense
language of heart and feeling what manner of persons the Apostle and his fellow
labourers were, to whose fruitful and unstinted service the early church together with
ourselves are so overwhelmingly in debt.
No.9. A Study in I Thessalonians.
Contrasts that minister Comfort.
pp. 54 - 58
The three groups of antonyms that are before us in I Thessalonians deal with three
The character of the Word spoken.
The character of the speakers.
The Message itself.
We remember that the epistle is written to believers, and therefore, we do not expect
to read of the way of salvation so much as to learn something of things which accompany
salvation. Consequently the Apostle stresses not so much `faith' but `the work of faith',
not so much `hope' but the `patience of hope', and it is hope and its patience, together
with other essential characteristics that meet us in the third and last series of contrasts.
(1) The dead and the living (4: 16, 17).
The return of the Lord, during the early ministry of the Acts of the Apostles was not
conceived as a far off event that would take place at long last, but a fulfillment of the
"A little while, and ye shall see Me, because I go to the Father" (John 16: 16).
The scoffers found in Peter's testimony concerning the imminence of the Lord's
return, a butt for their scorn, saying:
"Where is the promise of His coming?" (II Pet. 3: 4).