Ye received the word of God - Ye received the doctrine of God, not as any thing fabricated by man, but as coming immediately from God himself, we being only his messengers to declare what he had previously revealed to us. And ye have had the fullest proof that ye have not believed in vain; for that doctrine, under the power and influence of the Holy Ghost, has worked most powerfully in you, filling you with light, life, and holiness.
For this cause also thank we God - In addition to the reasons for thankfulness already suggested, the apostle here refers to the fact that they received the truth, when it was preached, in such a way as to show that they fully believed it to be the word of God.
Not as the word of men - Not of human origin, but as a divine revelation. You were not led to embrace it by human reasoning, or the mere arts of persuasion, or from personal respect for others, but by your conviction that it was a revelation from God. It is only when the gospel is embraced in this way that religion will show itself sufficient to abide the fiery trials to which Christians may be exposed. He who is convinced by mere human reasoning may have his faith shaken by opposite artful reasoning; he who is won by the mere arts of popular eloquence will have no faith which will be proof against similar arts in the cause of error; he who embraces religion from mere respect for a pastor, parent, or friend, or because others do, may abandon it when the popular current shall set in a different direction, or when his friends shall embrace different views; but he who embraces religion as the truth of God, and from the love of the truth, will have a faith, like that of the Thessalonians, which will abide every trial.
Which effectually worketh also in you that believe - The word rendered “which” here - ὅς hos- may be referred either to “truth” or to “God.” The grammatical construction will admit of either, but it is not material which is adopted. Either of them expresses a sense undeniably true, and of great importance. The meaning is, that the truth was made efficacious in the minds of all who became true Christians. It induced them to abandon their sins, to devote themselves to God, to lead pure and holy lives, and enabled them to abide the trials and temptations of life; compare notes on Philemon 2:12-13; Hebrews 13:21. The particular illustration here is, that when they embraced the gospel it had such an efficacy on their hearts as to prepare them to meet all the terrors of bitter persecution without shrinking.
This “is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it.” The Pharisees of Christ's day closed their eyes lest they should see, and their ears lest they should hear; therefore the truth could not reach their hearts. They were to suffer retribution for their willful ignorance and self-imposed blindness. But Christ taught His disciples that they were to open their minds to instruction, and be ready to believe. He pronounced a blessing upon them because they saw and heard with eyes and ears that believed. COL 59.1
The good-ground hearer receives the word “not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13. Only he who receives the Scriptures as the voice of God speaking to himself is a true learner. He trembles at the word; for to him it is a living reality. He opens his understanding and his heart to receive it. Such hearers were Cornelius and his friends, who said to the apostle Peter, “Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.” Acts 10:33. COL 59.2
A knowledge of the truth depends not so much upon strength of intellect as upon pureness of purpose, the simplicity of an earnest, dependent faith. To those who in humility of heart seek for divine guidance, angels of God draw near. The Holy Spirit is given to open to them the rich treasures of the truth. COL 59.3Read in context »
[Praying] Heavenly Father, I come to Thee at this time, just as I am, poor, weak, unworthy, and I ask Thee to impress the hearts of this people gathered here today. I have spoken to them Thy words, but, O Lord, Thou alone canst make the word effective, et cetera.—The Review and Herald, April 8, 1909 (Sermon at Oakland, California, February 8, 1909.) 3SM 269.4Read in context »