Hold FAST to the TRADITIONS taught by GOD’s WORD
December 7 Bible Reading: 2 Thessalonians Chapters 1-3
"Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work." (2 Thess. 2:15-17)
When Apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Thessalonica the second time, they were in the midst of intense suffering (1:4–5) and many difficulties (2:1–12). However, Paul encouraged them to look beyond their immediate troubles to the return of Christ (1:6–7) with whom they would be glorified forever (1:10). It would be just a matter of time before Christ would judge all their enemies once and for all (1:8–9).
In view of this fact, Paul exhorts the believers in Thessalonica to stand fast and hold the traditions which they were taught, either by the apostles’ words or by their letters. The important thing here is that the only traditions which were reliable and authoritative were the inspired utterances of the apostles. We are aware that Christ had condemned the scribes and Pharisees for nullifying the commandments of God by their traditions (Matt. 15:6). In a similar tone, Paul had warned the Colossians against the traditions of men (Col. 2:8). In reality, the only traditions that we should hold on to should be the great truths which have been handed over to us in the sacred Scriptures!
In the early church, traditions were the principal means of Christian instruction (Luke 1:2). The New Testament had not yet been written, and the essential beliefs of the Christian faith were being communicated through the apostles’ preaching and letters. The traditions mentioned above refer to more than customs but referred to the totality of the apostolic doctrine as it was given to them by God. It made no difference whether these traditions were given orally (by word) or in written form (epistles) as they were authoritative, being God’s Word. Paul used the word ‘traditions’ to describe his teachings (both by word and by letter) especially at Corinth and Thessalonica (Rom. 6:17; 1 Cor. 11:2, 23; 15:3; 2 Tim. 1:13).
Today, God calls us as His people to finish our lives well by holding on to the truths that last. We should maintain lifelong faithfulness and be busy about our responsibilities at hand (3:6–13). We should sit under the preaching and teaching of God’s Word, but when the content conflicts with the Scriptures, the teaching of men should be disregarded for the certain truth of the Bible (Matt. 15:2; 2 Tim. 2:15). Beware of “prophets” who contradict what God has already said in His Word! As God’s people, we can face the future with assurance, hope, and comfort because of the unfailing grace of God through His Word. Let us hold fast to the traditions taught by God’s Word alone!