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In the first century, the Thessalonian church grieved deaths in their community, endured harsh persecution, and struggled with questions about the future. Paul offered them the comforts and reassurances of hope in the Messiah Jesus. But he offered far more than wishful thinking or pie-in-the-sky comfort. Paul’s emphasis on hope in the Messiah Jesus involved capturing a vision of God’s redeemed and just future in order to see and live faithfully today. Paul did not believe in a passive hope, but an active hope where, if the Day of the Messiah is a beacon, believers set their course and diligently move toward it. That diligence is especially captured by love for Christian brothers and sisters, commitment to honest and productive work, and obedience to the truth of the gospel of Lord Messiah Jesus.
Nijay K. Gupta is Assistant Professor of New Testament at George Fox Evangelical Seminary, Portland, OR. His recent books include a commentary on Colossians and Prepare, Succeed, Advance: Getting a PhD in Biblical Studies and Beyond (Wipf & Stock).
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