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Stand Firm In God's Calling

2 Thessalonians 2:15-17
So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. (NIVUK)

These verses come after, "But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14). The reason to stand firm is because they are already firmly secured by the love and gospel plan of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They could not be more secure.

But they had to choose to stand firm and not be wobbled by persecution, false prophets and anti-Christs. The teaching from the apostles was and is the only safe and unmovable ground to stay on. 'Holding fast' means accepting that what Paul spoke or wrote came as a message from God and choosing to obey. The believers needed to work out their faith in action - as a deliberate choice (Philippians 2:12). As they did they would experience God's encouragement to keep standing firm.

Paul's benediction demonstrates the way in which God's secure hold on believers enables them to keep on making strong choices to work obediently with God. The Father's and the Son's love and grace for believers is rooted in the cross. Jesus accepted responsibility for our sin so that we might wear His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). That fact should be enormously encouraging – a personal message from the Lord. The Godhead also enables us to do and say what is right and pleasing to Him. We are not left alone to obey through duty and discipline alone because the Lord helps us to desire what is right, choose to do it and follow through in obedience (Philippians 2:13).

It is easy to stand firm when surrounded by love and the help of other believers. In other circumstances, isolated from sympathetic friends and family, surrounded by hostility and argument, we may find it difficult to stand firm. Why? When the Creator God is standing by us (Acts 7:55-56), our status as children of God is assured through the cross of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is within us to give us power – should we not be able to stand firm? Yes, but unless we have trained our hearts to look at Jesus who we cannot see with our physical eyes, we will soon become overwhelmed by what we can see around us (Hebrews 12:2).

God of grace and encouragement. Thank You that I am truly secure in You. Forgive me for the times I am overwhelmed by the pressures around me. Please help me to fix my spiritual eyes on Jesus and allow Him to help me stand firm by obeying what is written in the Bible. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams