15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.
16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace,
17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.
There is no new teaching or piece of information that has the power to overtake you or cause you to stumble if you are in Christ. None! These verses don’t only exhort us to stand firm in troubling times where misinformation abounds, they point to the foundation upon which we can stand firm—the Word of God and the power of prayer.
In the context of the passage, the appeal to stand firm addressed the Thessalonians’ distress over teachings that the Day of the Lord, Christ’s Second Coming, had come and gone. His message to these believers was to not be easily alarmed, but to find strength by holding to the teachings he had given them.
It was a point of fact; some teachers had tried to introduce new ideas and practices into the early church, and others would certainly follow. Paul wanted the believers to hold on to the instructions and teachings he had given them so they would not be persuaded and led astray by some other “gospel.” We, like the believers at Thessalonica, have been given God’s Word on everything from sin and salvation to daily conduct to the Second Coming and our glorification in Heaven. In verses 16-17, Paul also emphasized what God has done: He has loved us from all eternity, He has given us eternal encouragement for our present life, and He has given us good hope for the future. Because we have such a God, we can be confident He will hear and answer our prayers.
When we encounter gospel-conflicting behaviors and diverse teachings, we don’t need to worry; we need to stand firm on the truth of Scripture and in the confidence that God will answer our prayers. In any and every situation we face, God will help us stay calm, encourage our hearts, and strengthen us for the tasks He has designed for us to accomplish through His direction and ability.
• In what current situation do you need help remembering and believing the truth you learn from God’s Word?
• How can the knowledge that Jesus sympathizes with you and enables you to draw near to the throne of grace help you stand firm today?
• Thank God for His grace-driven love and comfort in your life. Invite Him to establish you in every good work and word as you seek to stand firm on the truths of His Word and the confidence of your relationship with Him through prayer.