Who is God?

1 Thessalonians 1:1 – Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

There are perhaps two foundational things that every Christian needs to learn early in their faith walk. One, who is the God they believe in? Two, who are they as a believer? Paul threads these two themes throughout 1 Thessalonians as nearly the entire church were new Christians, which we’ll look at over the next two days, starting with the question “Who is God?” 

One, the letter opens by commending the believers for “how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1:9). This one true God is contrasted with demonic false gods, and the entire Trinity is spoken of repeatedly. 

God the Father is clearly mentioned at least four times (1:1; 1:3, 3:11, 3:13). He is affectionately referred to in relationship to the church family as “our God and Father” (1:3, 3:11, 3:13). God the Father and God the Son are also mentioned together at least four times (1:1, 1:3, 3:11, 3:13), including as the source of “grace to you and peace” (1:1). 

God the Son, Jesus, is clearly mentioned by His name at least 15 times (1:1, 1:3, 1:10, 2:14, 2:15, 2:19, 3:11, 3:13, 4:1, 4:2, 4:14, 5:9, 5:18, 5:23, 5:28). Like the Father, Jesus Christ is referred to affectionately in relation to the church family as “our Lord Jesus Christ” at least 7 times (1:3, 2:19, 3:11, 3:13, 5:9, 5:23, 5:28). Jesus is clearly mentioned by His title “Christ” or anointed by the Holy Spirit, at least 10 times (1:1, 1:3, 2:6, 2:14, 3:2, 4:16, 5:9, 5:18, 5:23, 5:28). 

Jesus Christ is said to be the source of “grace to you and peace” (1:1), object of our “hope in our Lord Jesus Christ”, the “Son from heaven…raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1:10), “killed” for us (2:15), “coming” for eternal victory “with all his saints” (2:19, 3:13), source of direction for finding God’s will (3:11), person we follow in our “walk…to please God” (4:1), teacher of God’s people through godly leaders (4:2), because “we believe that Jesus died and rose again…through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep” (4:14), this will happen because, “the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first” (4:16), because, “God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (5:9), which allows us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (5:18), and lastly, “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”, because “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you” (5:23,28). 

God the Holy Spirit is mentioned at least three times (1:5, 1:6, 4:8). The Holy Spirit is the one who brought the “gospel…not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction” (1:5), to empower believers to become “imitators…of the Lord” despite “much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit” (1:6), and to give them discernment to know what is true and of God versus false and not from God because it is “God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you” (4:8). 

Tomorrow, we will answer the question “Who are You?” in context of who God is.

Look up some of the references mentioned in this devo to have confidence in who God is and that He is the center of all of Scripture and history.

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