Thus the apostle pours out the depths of his heart, filled with the real fruits of the Spirit and of faith. He burns with love and joy whenever he sees the gospel recognized, accepted and honored, and the Church flourishing. For the converts he can conceive of no loftier desire – can offer no greater petition for them than to implore God that they may increase and persevere in the gospel faith. Such is the inestimable value he places upon possessing and holding fast God’s Word.
Paul is here an example of gratitude for us. It behooves the Christian who recognizes the grace and goodness of God, expressed in the gospel, first of all to manifest his thankfulness toward God and then toward men. As Christians who have abandoned the false services and sacrifices that in our past heathenish blindness we zealously practiced, let us remember our obligation henceforth to be the more fervent in offering true service and right sacrifices to God. We can render him no better service than the thank-offering, as the Scriptures call it.
That is, receiving and honoring the grace of God and the preaching and hearing of his Word, and furthering their operation, not only in word, but sincerely in our hearts and with all our physical and spiritual powers. This is the truest gratitude.
These words therefore give us an exact delineation of the Christian that believes in the holy gospel. Such hearts are rare in the world and especially difficult to find, unless it be among the beloved apostles or those who approach them in the likeness of Christ. Let us not be found unthankful, and forgetful of God’s infinite goodness.