THE LABOR OF LOVE
According to verse 3, the labor of love comes after the work of faith. This labor of love is truly a labor; it is not merely an action or some kind of conduct. It involves endeavoring, striving, working.
We have pointed out that the work of faith begins with turning to God from idols. The work of faith surely implies this kind of turning. Thus, the turning to God from idols is related to the work of faith. Now we must see that serving the living God is related to the labor of love. We are laboring to serve our God, who is living. We serve this living One because we love Him. Galatians 5:6 says that faith operates through love. This love is related first to serving our living God.
The faith within us produces many different kinds of actions. Moreover, this faith operates in love. In love, we as believers should endeavor to serve our living God. Our God is living. As the living One, He speaks all the time, and we serve Him.
It is not easy to serve God; rather, it is a labor. Paul even says that it is a struggle. Therefore, if we would serve the living God, we must struggle. Whatever God speaks in us and whatever He indicates to us, we need to follow Him. This is to serve Him as the living God. This service requires love toward Him. We should first love God, and this love will cause us to labor in serving Him.
THE ENDURANCE OF HOPE
Finally, in verse 3 Paul speaks of the endurance of hope. No doubt, the endurance of hope in verse 3 corresponds to the waiting for the Son of God in verse 10. If we have the endurance of hope, we shall wait for God’s Son from the heavens.
Now we can see what is the Christian life as a holy life for the church life. This life originates with the Triune God. Through the preaching of the word and our acceptance of the word, we enter into a life relationship with God the Father and have an organic union with Christ. This comes through faith. Then this faith works, acts, and issues in many things. In particular, it causes us to turn to God from everything else. Furthermore, in love we labor, struggle, and strive to serve the living God. At the same time, with the endurance of hope we wait for the coming back of the Son of God. This surely is a holy life, a life that is sanctified and separated. According to chapter four, verse 7, God has called us in such a life, and according to chapter five, verse 23, God is now sanctifying us wholly for this kind of life so that we may have the proper church life.
(Life-Study of 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)