Our Glory and JoyShepherds' Encouragement for the Flock
Our glory and joy
“For you are our glory and joy”
Paul and Silvanus (“Silas”) and Timothy had recently been run out of Thessalonica before they could establish the young church there as thoroughly as they desired. They had tried to come back – Paul even multiple times – but were hindered by Satan (1 Thess. 2:17-18). But they wanted the Thessalonians to know that they hadn’t wanted to leave, and that their hearts were bound up in the spiritual stability and growth of these young believers they had come to love. So they asked: “For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.” (1 Thess. 2:19-20, NASB).
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About Our Glory and Joy
“For you are our glory and joy” – 1 Thessalonians 2:20
What does the blog title (Our Glory and Joy) refer to?
The phrase is drawn from 1 Thessalonians 2:20. Paul and Silvanus (“Silas”) and Timothy had recently been run out of Thessalonica before they could establish the young church there as thoroughly as they desired. They had tried to come back – Paul even multiple times – but were hindered by Satan (1 Thess. 2:17-18). But they wanted the Thessalonians to know that they hadn’t wanted to leave, and that their hearts were bound up in the spiritual stability and growth of these young believers they had come to love. So they asked: “For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.” (1 Thess. 2:19-20, NASB).
The heart of the missionaries toward these believers was focused around several things:
- The affection they had come to have for them (1 Thess. 2:8)
- Their stewardship with the gospel of Christ (1 Thess. 2:4)
- Their focus upon the coming day of Christ (1 Thess. 2:19)
- Their recognition that constant instruction and exhortation of those who had believed the gospel was necessary in light of that future (1 Thess. 2:11-12)
These attitudes are all in the picture when Paul refers to these believers as his glory and joy. They are his “glory” in that they are his “boast”; but it is not the kind of proud, human boasting that seeks fame and credit for one’s own accomplishments. Paul himself knew all too well that even his precise faithfulness was not the ultimate cause of spiritual fruit (1 Cor. 3:6-7). Instead, it refers to what he gets thrilled about. And for Paul and his fellow workers, it is their spiritual growth in preparation for the coming of Christ which causes excitement. This is what he is – in the best and most humble sense – “proud” of.
These men also find their joy in the spiritual condition of these believers, and anticipate that they will have even greater joy when they stand together complete at the coming of Christ. And to that end, Paul and the other missionaries see it as essential that they complete the work of establishing the church in such a way as to ensure the spiritual growth and stability of these young Christians.
This is, of course, not the only time, nor the only church, that Paul felt this way about. He referred to the Philippians as “my joy and my crown” (Phil. 4:1) and spoke of having “reason to glory” in the day of Christ because of the outcome of his labor among them (Phil. 2:16). He even implies that this future thrill will not be simply one-directional, as he tells the Corinthian church, “we are your reason to be proud as you also are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus” (2 Cor. 1:14)
And it is for this very reason that, when things weren’t going so well – whether the church had been deceived (Gal. 4:19); left inadequately established (1 Thess. 3:2, 10); or simply deprived of the potential help that Paul could bring (Phil. 1:24-25) – Paul longed to be with and to encourage the beloved fellow believers who were under his watchful care.
All of this reasons explain why we would choose such a name for this blog. Our concern is first and foremost with the gospel of Christ – that all would believe the saving message of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. But we also understand that those who have believed good works must be, as Paul says elsewhere, “careful to engage in good deeds” (Titus 3:8).
This blog is a place where we can help instruct and encourage our precious fellow believers to do just this in ways that may not be easily done during the normal meeting times of ministry. It’s a way to further exhort and equip believers to do things that honor God. It’s a place to help Christians think carefully according to the mind of Christ rather than human ideas. It’s a forum for addressing issues of sanctification, of theology, of ecclesiology, of practical Christian living, of understanding the times, and more.
We love the gospel; we love the church; and our focus is to help believers know how to “walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls [them] into his own kingdom and glory” (1 Thess. 2:12). For this reason, we write on behalf of those who are, as it was for Paul and the others, “our glory and joy.”