THE CONTENT OF THE WORD PREACHED BY PAUL
Now we need to study the content of the word, the gospel, preached by Paul. No doubt, Paul preached the Triune God. In verse 4 he says, “Knowing, brothers beloved by God, your selection.” Selection refers to the Father’s work in eternity past. That was when God selected us. In verse 10 Paul speaks about the Son as the One who delivers us. The Son is the Savior, the Deliverer. In verse 5 Paul says that the gospel they preached came in power and in the Holy Spirit; and in verse 6 we see that the Thessalonians accepted the word with joy of the Holy Spirit. The fact that the gospel was preached in the Holy Spirit indicates that the Spirit is the One who transmits the things of God into us. Thus, God the Father selected us, God the Son accomplished redemption to deliver us, and God the Spirit transmits all the divine things to us. This is the content of the word preached by Paul as the gospel. This is the reason I say that the Triune God is embodied in the word.
A brother may give a short gospel message in which he says that God created man, that man has become fallen, that Christ has come to die on the cross for our sins, and that now the Spirit is seeking to regenerate us. Even in such a short message, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit are all included. This is the content of the proper gospel, a gospel that is the divine word embodying the Triune God and telling us what the Father has done, what the Son has done, and what the Spirit is doing. When someone believes this word and accepts it, it becomes faith within him.
Do you realize what happens when the Triune God is ministered to a person through the word, and that person receives the word so that it becomes faith within him? At that moment such a person experiences a new birth. He is born of God. We all were sinners, but through faith we have become sons of God. Through faith we experience a new birth.
Faith is not a matter of trying to believe something that we are not able to believe. Whenever you preach the gospel, do not force anyone to believe. Instead, present the Triune God as the One most dear, precious, and valuable. When others hear the presentation of such an attractive One, they will appreciate what you are saying and receive your word. The word they accept will then become their faith. This is what it means to believe.
TWO ASPECTS OF FAITH
Faith has two aspects: the objective aspect and the subjective aspect. When we accept the word of God, it becomes both our objective faith and our subjective faith. Objective faith denotes the things we believe, and subjective faith refers to our action of believing. Through such a faith we are regenerated, born of God, and a relationship of life begins between us and God. Furthermore, through this kind of faith we are put into Christ. Formerly, we were outside of Christ. But now through faith we are in Christ. This means that there is an organic union between us and Christ. This is the beginning of the Christian life, and this life is a holy life that consummates in the church life. In this way the Triune God is transmitted into our being so that we may have a new life, the divine life. With this new life we have a relationship of life with God and an organic union with Christ. By means of this relationship and union we begin our Christian life, a life of holiness, a holy life for the church life.
(Life-Study of 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)