1 Thessalonians 2 … Consider Him Who Is Witness

For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness, (2:5).

Paul found himself forced, as he so often was, to defend his apostleship (see 2 Corinthians 10:18; 2 Corinthians 11; Galatians 1:11-24, 2:1-10).

The church in Thessalonica was founded amidst persecution; and persecution comes in all manners of ways. And while Paul had undergone more than his fair share of physical torment, perhaps what he found most torturous was the possible ramifications the persuasive powers of the skeptics might wield in challenging his authority as an apostle; but not because it was his reputation that was on the line. Paul knew that casting doubt on the messenger could result in misgivings about the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Ultimately, Paul knew the Truth; and he was not concerned with what others had determined or presumed about him. Paul’s concern was for the salvation and well-being of those who had heard the message, and his confidence lay in only One, in Him Who Is Witness.

3144. μάρτυς mártus; gen. márturos, masc.–fem. noun. A witness. One who has information or knowledge of something, and hence, one who can give information, bring to light, or confirm something.” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance

I was fascinated by the translation, “God is witness” (2:5), for some versions include the possessive pronoun, “God is our witness.” Wondering about this, I discovered no pronoun was penned in the original language. I am not a scholar, but the lack of a personal possessive pronoun seems to me a delineation: He is not our Witness, He is not your Witness, He is not my Witness. But He Is Witness in and of Himself; it is Who He Is.

He alone has all information and knowledge; He alone has access to all information and knowledge everywhere; He alone has all power to confirm the truth of knowledge and information; and He alone loves His creation enough to do so.

Everything in Him Is Truth; He Is Witness, and all that He Is, all that He says, all that He does testifies to His Omniscience, Omnipresence, Omnipotence, and Omnibenevolence.

Consider Him Who Is Witness

  • He Is Witness in His Omniscience (All-Knowing).
    • “The heart is more deceitful than all else
      And is desperately sick;
      Who can understand it?
      10 “I, the Lord, search the heart,
      I test the mind,
      Even to give to each man according to his ways,
      According to the results of his deeds,”
      (Jeremiah 17:9-10).
    • … for God is greater than our heart and knows all things, (1 John 3:20).
  • He Is Witness in His Omnipresence (All-Present).
    • “Am I a God who is near,” declares the Lord,
      “And not a God far off?
      24 “Can a man hide himself in hiding places
      So I do not see him?” declares the Lord.
      “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the Lord,
      (Jeremiah 23:23-24).
    • “…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age,” (Matthew 28:20).
  • He Is Witness in His Omnipotence (All-Powerful).
    • Ah Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You, (Jeremiah 32:17).
    • For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse, (Romans 1:20).
  • He Is Witness in His Omnibenevolence (All-Loving).
    • But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
      Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth,
      (Psalm 86:15).
    • “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life,” (John 3:16).

How do we respond to Him Who Is Witness?

Paul wrote to a group of believers whose faith was being brutally challenged amidst relentless opposition and persecution.

For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe. 14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews, 15 who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, (2:13-15).

Persecution comes in all manners of ways; but its goal is always the same: derail the firm foundation of faith in Him Who Is Witness.

Perhaps like me, you had to stop and ask yourself, do I rely on Him Who Is Witness, Who knows all things at all times and in every place and heart, Who is powerfully able to confirm His Truth and loves me enough to do so? Or am I still looking for acceptance and affirmation from the witness of others? The witness we find from ourselves or others is insufficiently fleeting at its best, and deceptively destructive at its worst.

“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full,” (Matthew 6:5).

A man who flatters his neighbor
Is spreading a net for his steps,
(Proverbs 29:5).

When we accept the gospel, “not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe,” the Lord will faithfully work in us to strengthen our faith that we would seek His reward, to imitate and grow in the image of Him Who Is Witness.

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him, (Hebrews 11:6).

  • Lord, You alone are Omniscient. Please God, be Witness in our heart and thoughts before You.
    • Search me, O God, and know my heart;
      Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
      24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
      And lead me in the everlasting way,
      (Psalm 139:23-24).
  • Lord, You alone are Omnipresent. Please God, be Witness in our dependence and reliance upon You.
    • for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.
      What will man do to me?”
      (Hebrews 13:5-6).
  • Lord, You alone are Omnipotent. Please God, be Witness in our hope and faith in You.
    • I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe, (Ephesians 1:18-19).
  • Lord, You alone are Omnibenevolent. Please God, be Witness in our obedience and love for You and others.
    • “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments,” (John 14:15).
    • “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do what I command you, (John 15:12-13).

Oh, let us ask Him to grow our faith and give us a heart like Paul’s, that we would be convinced that it is only His favor and approval that matters, that we would wholeheartedly live out all our days as a bond-servant of Him Who Is Witness.

For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ, (Galatians 1:10).

When we live to please God with all that we are, while others may witness our devout behavior, let us pray that God will use our lives to show them the truth of His Omniscience, Omnipresence, Omnipotence and Omnibenevolence in Him Who Is Witness.

You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers, (2:10).

Let’s Grow Together!

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