The text opens with greetings and acknowledgement of the good relationship these brethren have with the apostles and with the lord. They were young converts, yet they were already strong. They weren’t strong in physical terms since they were still beset with all kinds of hardships and afflictions (vv6) but they were strong in their faith because they were strongly rooted and firmly built up in the holy faith. In the midst of the opposition in which they lived, they stood firm even after the apostles were forced to leave their city. This is the mark of true conversion. It is an unmistakable identity when a believer is one in deed as in word. He professes Christ in the secret and in the open; when it is convenient and when its not. So we thank God for these brethren and are encouraged that suffering afflictions in the name of the lord is a worthy cause.
From verses 6-10, we could see the changes that occurred in the lives of these new disciples. First, they became followers of the lord even in the midst of serious afflictions, and thus, became an example to other believers. Their faith began to be spread abroad, it wasn’t hidden. People far and near got to know about their repentance. Most important, they turned from idolatry and embraced Christ fully. More so, their lives were lived in confident hope and the attendant fruits of those who are waiting in the hope of resurrection.
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It is sad that these days conversion has become synonymous with changing of church. It is no longer the inward transition from death to life. Rather, it has become a matter of style and fashion. People move from one church to another, from one prayer meeting to another without any thought about how to embrace Christ and live according to his teachings. What the majority desire is the fringe benefits of Christianity, the good life and comfort that money brings. This seems to have become the major reason why people flock churches today. But a look at the day’s Reading shows that the mark of a true believer is the inward transformation occasioned by the acceptance of the word of God.
So the question remains: “am I yet transformed? Have I truly embraced Christ and his teachings? Are these transformations evident in my life? Am I truly a written epistle of Christ unto the people around me? Do I have the unmistakable identity and marks of a true believer? What is the real reason I go to church?
PRAYER: Father, we give you thanks for loving us so much. You never fail to make your mind known to us. Your message has come to us again with a lot of questions about our lives as Christians. Help us Lord, where we are not doing well to sit up and receive grace to follow you as you desire through Christ Jesus. Amen!