Today, we are studying 2 Thes 2:13-17. This passage is in the context of the rest of the chapter, which we studied previously. From that lesson, we saw that there is a falling away first before the revelation of the man of sin [2 Thes 2:3]. The church age ends in apostasy. Therefore, Paul reassures us, in these verses, that we don’t have to fall away in this apostasy. Our safeguard against falling away is “belief of the truth,” [2 Thes 2:13]. When you believe the truth:
The Spirit will sanctify you – 2 Thes 2:13-14 – when we believed the truth, we were saved by God’s salvation. In verse 14, God called us by the gospel [Eph 1:13]. In verse 13, when we heard the truth, we believed the truth [1 Thes 2:13; contrast 2 Thes 2:10-12]. In verse 13, in response to our belief, the Spirit sanctified us [1 Cor 6:11; Rom 15:16]. His sanctification was immediate. His sanctification is also on-going through our continual obedience to the words of God [Jn 17:17; Acts 20:32]. His object is that we be wholly sanctified [1 Thes 5:23]. In verse 14, ultimately, at the rapture, we obtain the glory of Jesus [Rom 8:29; 1 Jn 3:2; Phil 3:21]. As long as we continue to believe the truth and yield to the sanctification of the Spirit, we won’t fall away in the apostasy that is sweeping through the church today.
You will stand fast – 2 Thes 2:15 – Paul’s exhortation to the Thessalonians is that they stand fast [1 Thes 3:8]. He encouraged them to stand by holding “the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” The root meaning of the word tradition is to deliver. In general, traditions are opinions, doctrines, practices, rites, and customs delivered from forefathers to descendants. Thus, these traditions are doctrines and practices delivered by Paul to his followers [for example, Phil 4:9; 1 Thes 4:1, 11-12]. These traditions are now scripture. Paul discussed one particular tradition in 2 Thes 3:6-12, concerning their work ethic. Three excellent examples of traditions that we hold are traditional music, traditional preaching, and traditional prayer meetings. All three of these are gone in the modern churches.
Jesus will comfort and stablish you – 2 Thes 2:16-17 – Jesus has loved us [1 Jn 4:10], given us everlasting consolation, and good hope through grace [Rom 8:24-25]. When we believe the truth, he comforts our hearts [Rom 15:4]. We need comfort because of “the persecutions and tribulations that ye endure,” [2 Thes 1:4]. When we believe the truth, Jesus will stablish us in every good word and work [Col 3:17; 2 Thes 3:3; 1 Thes 3:13; 1 Pet 5:10].
Conclusion: it is important in the conclusion to comment on two false doctrines that men use these verses to support. Men use verse 13 to support the false doctrine of Calvinism. They quote this verse as if it says, “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation.” That’s not what this verse says. It says that God chose that he would save us through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. When you hear the gospel, verse 14, you must believe the truth and then you will be sanctified by the Spirit.
Men use verse 15 to support the teaching of the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church. Yet, their traditions, like the perpetual virginity of Mary, are contrary to scripture [Mk 7:5-13]. Paul’s traditions, on the other hand, are scripture.