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13 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. 14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.15 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. 16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. (2 Thessalonians 2:13-17)

1 As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. 2 And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. 3 But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. 4 We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. 5 May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. (2 Thessalonians 3:1-5)

The main theme of our Scripture today is to encourage Christians to "stand firm." What does it mean? It is to be in a state of a firm or unwavering situation, whether emotional, political or personal. As with the changing situation around the world due to the pandemic today, being "stable" is an important element of a settled life before God. The Bible also uses another term, to "hold tightly", to describe this "stand firm" situation — both admonishing Christians that you have to actively and vigorously stand firm to keep yourself from falling or being tossed around.

In the whole Bible, God always reveals to us His unchanging nature; yesterday, today and tomorrow, God is the same. Such knowledge of God will put our hearts to rest because we do not trust in the changing world but we trust in a God who does not change and cannot change. That's why right from the beginning of today’s passage, it says that our salvation starts with God's love for us which is not only unchanging, but also eternal. Therefore, there is hope in all situations even beyond the human grave.

The next question we ask is: "How do we stand firm or hold tight to the God we trust?” In 2 Th 2:15: “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”, there are mainly two things: to stand firm firstly on the personal words that Paul had spoken to the Christians at that time, and, secondly, on the letters Paul had written to all the Christian churches at that time. Note that the personal words spoken by Paul, an Apostle, carried the authority of God. Paul was chosen to witness for Christ, to establish the early churches and to confirm God's word by signs and wonders. Paul was one of the pillars of the early churches. Hence, while he travelled to many churches and spoke to many Christians at that time, his personal words had left a deep impression on the mind of those he had spoken to. The power of his words had impacted the spirituality of the church.

Besides standing firm on Paul's personal words, the passage also teaches us to stand firm on the "letters" Paul had written to the churches. As we all know. Paul's letters written to the churches had become part of our New Testament which became the foundation of our Christian faith for the past 2,000 years. Paul's letters to the churches covered comprehensively the basic doctrines of the Christian faith — on how to live a victorious Christian life and how a church should be run. In the Book of 2 Thessalonians, Paul taught that, in the end times, evil things will happen which describes very well what we are seeing in this world today. However, Paul encourages all Christians to stand firm for God will grant us hope and will strengthen us in all situations.

To conclude, I would like to use a scripture from the Book of Hebrews: “Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” (Heb 7:25) In other words, the God who has begun to save you will save you to the end. We humans are limited but God is unlimited. We are simply asked to “stand firm” and to “hold tight” and He will lead us through all situations. Peace be unto you!