The Threefold Cord of Life
The Threefold Cord
Paul presents to us the threefold cord of the evident expression of lives who are living in Christ.
“Remembering without ceasing your work of faith,
and labour of love, and patience of hope
in our Lord Jesus Christ”
1 Thessalonians 1:3
Authenticity in a believer is substantiated by the life it produces. Paul is remembering the evident character of the believers in Thessalonica. He is gripped by the substance of their walk and life in Christ! The Apostle is bound by the Spirit of God in him to the authentic expression of Christ in them. Life ever calls out to life, deep calls out to deep as we are inextricably joined to the verity of His life in another. This is the power of the true Body of Christ. The call to relationship, fellowship, and active love is the binding agent of all who live and walk in Him. If the Spirit of Christ is ruling within, our hearts will be drawn to true relationships with others in Christ. When carnality rules, people are content with exclusive*, powerless and shallow relationships in their lives. In contrast, the threefold cords of love to be found in the true Body of Christ are set forth here with clarity and precision.
Work of Faith
Faith, in order to be living, active and pertinent in the lives of His own, will always be expressive of the person, the glory, and the substance of the Living Christ. If there are no works of faith it is because the faith of the individual is dead; it is a faith in word only. It is a faith in a doctrine or a teaching which has no life or power. It is stagnant and sterile. One cannot be vitally connected to the Living Christ and live a non-effectual life in this dark world. The Greek word used here for “work” is where we get the English word “energy”. There is vitality and power associated with a true and living faith within the lives of His own. The Work of Faith is simply the doing that springs forth or originates from the power of His Faith in our lives (Galatians 2:20). The nature of faith is expressed in the works it produces. (James 2:26)
Labour of Love
The Greek word used here for “labour” is literally translated “to strike. Beating, wailing, grief with beating the breast, equal to kopetós (G2870), lamentation, wailing”. It is a burden that can only be known by the love of God beating within our hearts over the condition of others. It is the very Love of God producing prayers, intercessions, and words of encouragement and admonition. It is a labour to see the Kingdom of God arise in the earth and especially in the household of faith. Those who do not have the love of God beating within their hearts will not know this travail of Spirit over the condition of God’s people in this Day. The true ministry of God carries the burdens and the labors of the Spirit to see God’s people walk in truth.
“My little children,
of whom I travail in birth again
until Christ be formed in you”
Patience of Hope
The word “patience” is much better translated as “endurance”. Endurance speaks of faithfulness, consistency, and self-sacrifice. It communicates a life that is committed to the goal or purpose of God regardless of the obstacles and the apathy of others; it holds true to the mark set before it. The beauty of this grace is born out of a complete abandonment to the promises of God. It is a life that does not falter for it holds the character of God as its surety of recompense. It disciplines the heart to the works of faith and the labour of Love. It is the anchor from which the other graces of faith and love remain constant. The word declares that hope is the “anchor of the soul” to which the wandering tendencies of the human heart are holding firm to the end.
This threefold cord is the true revelation of the living Christ ruling and reigning within the lives of His own. Those who dwell in the Spirit of Christ know experientially the vitality of this wonder.
“…a threefold cord is not easily broken”
*Note: Exclusive relationships are closed, secular, and carnal. The Threefold Cord of the Life of Christ will not be bound by isolated living, uninvolved lives with others (outside their own circle), and content with esoteric teachings which produces no works of Faith nor labor of the love of God for others.