THE WORD OF THE LORD AND FAITH TOWARD GOD
I would call your attention to verse 8: “For from you the word of the Lord has sounded out, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith toward God has gone out, so that we have no need to speak anything.” Notice here Paul says that from the Thessalonians the word of the Lord has sounded out and that in every place their faith toward God has gone out. This indicates that the word of the Lord and faith toward God are synonymous. The Thessalonians heard the word. When they accepted the word, it became their faith in both an objective and subjective way. As we have pointed out, objective faith denotes that in which we believe, and subjective faith denotes the action of believing. In verse 8 faith toward God includes both the subjective and objective aspects.
In your experience, is the word of the Lord simply the word, or is it also faith? If the word is faith to you, this means it has brought you a view, and you have seen this view. This seeing of the view results in your believing. In this way the word becomes your faith. Now when the word of the Lord is sounded out, it is not merely an objective word; it is also your subjective faith. Therefore, when such a word is sounded out, your faith goes out.
Faith is the foundation of the structure of a holy life for the church life. Upon this foundation a building is taking place. This is the labor of love. Then the topstone, the capstone, of this building will be the enduring hope. In this way we have the complete structure of a holy life for the church life: the work of faith, the labor of love, and the endurance of hope.
If we see the basic matters in chapter one of 1 Thessalonians—the Triune God, the word as the embodiment of the Triune God, the mark of being in the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the work of faith, the labor of love, and the endurance of hope—then we shall know the burden in Paul’s spirit when he composed this portion of the Word.
(Life-Study of 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)